Thursday, 13 December, 2018

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

Study reveals best way to improve your child's brain power Study reveals best way to improve your child's brain power
Melissa Porter | 01 October, 2018, 16:15

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

On average, kids aged between 8 and 11 spend 3.6 hours per day in front of the TV, mobile phone, computer or tablet screen.

On average, children aged eight to 11 spent 3.6 hours per day glued to a TV, mobile phone, tablet or computer screen, almost double the suggested limit of two hours, researchers found.

"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", says Dr Jeremy Walsh, CHEO Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada.

Researchers said that the children who did meet the recommended goals had better "global cognition" which includes memory, attention and language. A Canadian study reported that one in 20 kids in the USA meets the guidelines on sleep, exercise and screen time and nearly a third are outside recommendations for all these.

Researchers from several Canadian institutions explored data on the daily activity of 4,524 U.S. children aged between eight and 11, and published their findings in article entitled Associations between 24 hour movement behaviours and global cognition in United States children: a cross-sectional observational study. The study controlled for household income, parental and child education, ethnicity, pubertal development, body mass index and whether the child had had a traumatic brain injury. The children were also asked to fill in questionnaires and complete puzzles that measured their cognitive functions.

"We found that more than two hours of recreational screen time in children was associated with poorer cognitive development", said Dr. Walsh continued.

Further studies are already focusing on the impact of screen time on the young people, and more results will be soon published. According to the study, this advice was taken by 37 percent of children's parents.

The researchers found that kids in the US average 3.6 hours a day using digital devices, in their study of 4,500 children ages 8 to 11.

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.

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. The amount of recommended screen time depends on the age of the child. Only 50 per cent of the group reported getting the nine to 11 hours of sleep recommended by doctors, while just 18 per cent got the recommended amount of exercise, at least 60 minutes a day.

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.