New study finds cutting back children's screen time linked to improved cognition

02 October, 2018, 00:24 | Author: Denise Dawson
  • Too much screentime daily may damage kid's brain function

On average, children aged eight to 11 spent 3.6 hours per day glued to a TV, mobile phone, tablet or computer screen, almost double the suggested limit of two hours, researchers found.

The study was conducted by researchers from the CHEO Research Institute's Healthy Active Living and Obesity using data from the U.S. National Institute of Health.

FMI: An abstract of the study and editorial can be found on the website for the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, but the full papers are being a paywall. And children who didn't meet these guidelines also performed worse on average.

Researchers then compared time spent on screens, sleeping, and engaged in physical activity from that study against the Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines, created by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology to advise how kids should spend their time in a given day.

"This finding raises the possibility that daily recreational screen use in excess of 2 [hours] attenuates the benefits of sleep for cognition", the study's authors write. These suggest that children of this age should be spending no more than two hours per day on screens, they should be getting nine to 11 hours of sleep per night and they should be undertaking at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. The study considered ethnicity, Body mass index (BMI), household income and, if any, traumatic brain injury.

"This new research adds to existing evidence, and supports concerns about screen time and potential negative links with cognitive development in children", Kirsten Corder, a senior investigator scientist with the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, said in a statement.

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The researchers found that only 5 percent of children met all three recommendations.

"Each minute spent on screens necessarily displaces a minute from sleep or cognitively challenging activities", Dr. Bustamante wrote in a commentary that accompanied the study.

In addition, each child was given a cognitive test that assessed such brain functions as attention, working memory, episodic memory, language skills and processing speed. It might not come as a surprise that researchers found almost two out of every three USA kids spend more than two hours a day looking at devices.

Walsh and the team analyzed data coming from 4,520 children from 20 locations in the US the experts also tested the kids' cognitive skills, adjusting the results for puberty development, household income, and more factors that might have the ability to affect the kids' performance.

On average, kids aged between 8 and 11 spend 3.6 hours per day in front of the TV, mobile phone, computer or tablet screen.

Parents who possess the courage to separate their children from their smartphones may be helping their kids' brainpower, a new study suggests.

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