January 22, 2019

Too much screentime daily may damage kid's brain function

29 September 2018, 02:47 | Randall Craig

More than two hours screentime a day could damage children’s brain development

A poll conducted for Common Sense Media a nonprofit focused on helping children parents teachers and policymakers negotiate media and technology explores families and technology addiction

It found that 51 percent of the children got the recommended nine to 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, 37 percent met the recreational screen time limit of two hours or less per day, while 18 percent met the physical activity recommendation of at least 60 minutes of accumulated physical activity a day.

Overall, only 5 percent of the children in the study met all three recommendations on sleep, screen time, and physical activity while 30 percent met none of the recommendations.

Limiting recreational screen time to less than two hours a day improves cognitive development in kids.

Researchers discovered, by analysing U.S. children's data for eight to 11-year-old, the more of the recommendations a child fulfilled, the better their cognition.

Less than two hours of recreational screen time for children is linked to better cognition, according to an observational study in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.

"Behaviours and day-to-day activities contribute to brain and cognitive development in children, and physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep might independently and collectively affect cognition".

However, only one in 20 United States children in the study met the three recommendations advised by the Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines to ensure good cognitive development. "This study is showing that less than two hours of recreational screen time is beneficial for children".

They said the extra rest from screens aided brain function and additional outdoors activity also improved the children's physical health.

Too much screen time could be wrecking kids' ability to focus, especially if they are switching between apps on a device or between different screens at the same time, Walsh suggested.

Children also completed a cognition test, which assessed language abilities, episodic memory, executive function, attention, working memory and processing speed.

The authors say that their findings indicate that adhering to the guidelines during childhood and adolescence, particularly for screen time, is important for cognitive development. The study's authors said that more research is needed to probe the links between screen time and cognition, including research differentiates between different types of screen time activities and what effects they have on children.

However, it has not yet been proven whether or not poor cognitive development is down to online activity itself or the time spent using electronic devices instead of exercising or sleeping.

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