Limited screen time good for children's brains

Limited screen time good for children's brains

However, they acknowledge that their observational study shows only an association between screen time and cognition and can not prove a causal link.

The study is based on data gathered from over 4,500 US kids aged 8 to 11 between September 2016 and September 2017 as part of a new, federally funded 10-year study on brain development and child health.

In order to ensure good cognitive development in children, the Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines provided the following recommendations - nine to eleven hours of sleep, less than two hours of recreational screen time, and at least one hour of physical activity on a daily basis.

As reported in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, nearly one-third (29% [1,330]) of the children did not meet any of the guidelines, 41% (1,845) met one recommendation; 25% (1,129) met two and just 5% (216) met all three.

The study followed more than 4,500 United States children aged between eight and 11, noting how much of their day involved recreational screen time, physical activity and sleep.

Children who used screens for less than two hours a day performed better in tests of mental ability, the study found. If you want your kids to do well in life, limit their screen time to less than two hours, encourage them to do physical activities and to have sufficient sleep, suggests new research.

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Although the report was focused on children in the US, Walsh says the findings could be applicable in any country.

"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.

"We really had an opportunity here to look at how meeting each of these guidelines and meeting all of the guidelines relate to cognition in a large sample of American children".

On average, the participants slept 9.1 hours per night, had 3.6 hours of recreational screen time per day and hit the physical activity goal 3.7 days per week. She was not involved in the study. Each minute spent on screens necessarily displaces a minute from sleep or cognitively challenging activities.

"The link between sedentary behaviors, like recreational screen time, is unclear as this research is in the early stages and it appears to vary depending on the types of screen-based activity", he said. In the case of evening screen use, this displacement may also be compounded by impairment of sleep quality.

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