Limiting kids' screen time improves brain function

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The theory that prolonged screen time may affect cognition has been backed-up by several studies, and it has been explain that each minute of screen time reduces the time available for physical activity, which would benefit the child more. The research used data from the ten-year Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study, which began in September 2016.

"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 authors say that their findings indicate that adhering to the guidelines during childhood and adolescence, particularly for screen time, is important for cognitive development.

Unfortunately, only one in 20 children were found to be meeting the recommendations.

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. They should also get nine to 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night in order to perform their best at school. "Evidence suggests that good sleep and physical activity are associated with improved academic performance, while physical activity is also linked to better reaction time, attention, memory, and inhibition".

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

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The research team said they hope pediatricians, educators, lawmakers, and parents will promote limiting recreational screen time and healthy sleep schedules after going through the latest findings.

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

Walsh and the team analyzed data coming from 4,520 children from 20 locations in the US the experts also tested the kids' cognitive skills, adjusting the results for puberty development, household income, and more factors that might have the ability to affect the kids' performance.

For screen time, parents should consider limiting smartphone, TV, or computer use to no more than two hours per day.

A recently published study has revealed that kids which spend more than two hours in front of a screen show signs of decreased cognitive abilities.

Parents, please take note. "More research into the links between screen time and cognition is now needed, including studying the effect of different types of screen time, whether content is educational or entertainment, and whether it requires focus or involves multitasking". Each minute spent on screens necessarily displaces a minute from sleep or cognitively challenging activities.