Screens could be damaging your child’s cognition, study reveals

Screens could be damaging your child’s cognition, study reveals

Limiting children to less than two hours a day of screen time is associated with better brain function, including memory, attention and the speed with which new information is processed, according to a new study.

Furthermore, the data used in the study was collected only once, not over time.

"We found that more than two hours of recreational screen time in children was associated with poorer cognitive development", said lead author Jeremy Walsh, a researcher at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute.

The results showed that about 30% of the kids failed to meet any of the recommendations. Moreover, only 18 percent met the physical activity recommendation, 37 percent remained within the screen time limits, and half were getting enough sleep. Children and parents completed questionnaires and measures at the outset of the trial to estimate the child's physical activity, sleep and screen time.TORONTO: Parents, take note!

Other factors such as parental and child's education, pubertal development, body mass index, ethnicity, household income and history of traumatic brain injury in the child were also taken into consideration.

The Lancet study's authors say more research is needed, and the link between screen time and mental development is not fully established.

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

Researchers said that the children who did meet the recommended goals had better "global cognition" which includes memory, attention and language. "Based on our findings, paediatricians, parents, educators, and policymakers should promote limiting recreational screen time and prioritising healthy sleep routines throughout childhood and adolescence".

Most of the ids also enjoyed extra screen time, as the average time was around 3.6 hours.

Furthermore, higher results were most strongly linked with meeting the screen-time recommendations alone or in combination with the sleep recommendation.

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

Cognitive ability improved for kids with each additional recommendation they met.

"Irrespective of our findings", the authors stress, "physical activity remains the most important behaviour for physical health outcomes, and there is no indication in the literature that it negatively affects cognition". Research is ongoing, however, with particular focus into what exactly kids are watching with their screen time, be it for entertainment or educational purposes. A separate report released by Common Sense Media previous year revealed that children from age 0 to 8 spend an average of two hours and 19 minutes in front of a screen every day.