New Study Confirms: Limiting Kids’ Screen Time Linked With Better Cognition

01 October, 2018, 16:12 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Study reveals best way to improve your child's brain power

In the study, data was analysed from 4,520 children from 20 sites across the USA.

In general, health experts say parents should put a tight limit on screen time, and encourage activities that are more productive (either physically, mentally, or both).

The study associates kids who met the guidelines - which include 9 to 11 hours of sleep, at least one hour of physical activity, and less than two hours on screens - with improvements in cognition.

"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", Walsh said.

As it turns out, kids who capped recreational screen time (i.e., screen time not related to schoolwork) at 120 minutes scored better on language ability, episodic memory, executive function, attention, working memory and processing speed.

"We've seen that children who meet more of these guidelines have better outcomes in their physical fitness, different cardio-metabolic outcomes like cardiovascular health, blood pressure, and metabolic regulation", Jeremy Walsh, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia and author on the study, told Newsweek.

A new study revealed only one in 20 children in the United States followed the guidelines on exercise, sleep, and screen time, while approximately almost a third are outside recommendations for all three.

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.

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Parents, please take note.

More screen time can also interfere with a healthy sleep schedule, which was the second more important guideline.

The researchers focused on data collected from September 2016 through September 2017 and observed 4,524 children aged eight through 11.

Only 5 percent of the children in the study met all three recommendations; 30 percent met none at all.

According to the researchers, more studies need to be done to confirm if and how exactly too much screen time can hurt children's cognition.

The authors note some limitations, including that their study is observational so can not establish the underlying causes or the direction of the association.

While there is a lot of evidence linking physical activity and cognitive development, in this study, meeting the physical activity recommendation alone showed no association with cognition.

"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. "The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends having a media plan with their children that lays out the rules of when media is appropriate".


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