Islamabad-A controversial scientific study claims there is a link between how much a young child watches screens and the likelihood of developing autism-like symptoms.

It found that one-year-old children who spend large portions of time looking at screens were more likely to show autism-like symptoms at two years of age. Researchers from Drexel University in Philadelphia also found children that have less interactive playtime with caregivers are more likely to develop symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

However, other scientists reviewing the study are torn on the validity of the research and whether or not its findings can be trusted. Experts not involved with the study have slammed its methods and called its integrity into question. Results showed time spent viewing screens aged 12 months was associated with four per cent greater ASD-like symptoms. And daily play time with a parent was linked to nine per cent less ASD-like symptoms, compared to less than daily play.