Limiting kids' screen time improves brain function

Child with phone

Walsh along with his research team observed the data of 4,520 children spread across 20 locations in the US.

Adding, "We found that more than two hours of recreational screen time in children was associated with poorer cognitive development". Health experts advise that children between the ages of eight and 11 engage in at least an hour per day of physical activity, get nine to 11 hours of sleep per night, and spend no more than two hours per day in front of a screen.

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.

Those who met all three had the most "superior" global cognition, followed by those meeting the sleep and screen time recommendation and finally the screen time recommendation alone, according to the study.

In their findings, researchers accounted for a variety of other factors known to contribute to cognition, including household income and education levels.

However, meeting just the screen time recommendation, or both the screen time and sleep recommendation, had the strongest links with cognitive development. Also, because the questionnaires were used only at the onset of the study, they don't show the effects of these behaviors - or cognitive development - over time.

Research suggests teens who spend more time using social media and the internet, while avoiding socializing, ports, or schoolwork, had "lower psychological well-being".

"Without consideration of what kids are actually doing with their screens, we're seeing that the two-hour mark actually seems to be a good recommendation for benefiting cognition", said Jeremy Walsh, an exercise physiologist at the University of British Columbia in Okanagan and one of the study authors, to Science News.

Even though some facts are not entirely or accurately proven, everybody knows that leaving your child in front of a tablet or a TV the whole day is not healthy for them. "The link between sedentary behaviours, 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".

"I think that the overarching goal here is that parents should consider the whole 24-hour day of their children", he said, "and put realistic rules or limits in place for how long they are on their screens for, having bed time rules, and making sure to encourage physical activity".

The researchers did note that the findings from the study do come with some limitations, in part due to the observational nature of the study.

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

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