New research suggested on Wednesday, September 26 that too much "screen time" for your children may sap their intelligence.
The new research was published online on Wednesday entitled "The Lancet: Child & Adolescent Health" journal. It was based on data gathered from over 4,500 kids in US aged 8 to 11 between September 2016 and September 2017. The research team used the data to see if children are limiting their screen time while also getting exercise and enough sleep.
Jeremy Walsh, the lead researcher and a postdoctoral fellow with the CHEO Research Institute in Ottawa, Canada said that kids with the sharpest intellect spent less than two hours a day on their mobile gadgets; cellphones, tablets and computers, coupled with 9 to 11 hours of sleep and at least 1 hour of physical activity. However, very few US children meet all of these goals.
"Only 5 percent of our sample met all three guidelines," Walsh said."About 41 percent met one of the guidelines and 25 percent met two. That means 30 percent of our sample didn't meet any of the guidelines, which I think is a very important statistic to focus on."
Half of the children got the recommended sleeping duration, 37 percent met the screen time guidelines of using it less than two hours and 18percent got at least an hour exercise. According to the result, the kids spent 3.6 hours a day using their gadgets.
While the study cannot prove the cause and effect, but it shows that the more recommended guidelines the children meet, their ability to think and the reason is better.
"For every additional recommendation met, children had significantly better cognition compared to those who did not meet any of the guidelines," Walsh said.
The finding showed that the kids who met the sleep and screen time guidelines appeared to be more intellectual followed by the kids who met just the screen time guidelines. Moreover, Walsh suggested that too much screen time for the children may wreck their focus.
"One leading hypothesis is that a lot of time on screens is spent multitasking, using multiple apps or devices at once," Walsh said. "This can interfere with a child's ability to focus and sustain interest on a task. It can be impairing the building blocks for good cognition."
"Sleep also is incredibly important to brain development, since that's when the brain reorganizes itself and grows," Walsh added. "Exercise has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain and oxygenation of brain tissues, and increases the connectivity of networks in the brain."
An attending psychiatrist at Lenox Hill commented about the study saying that it clearly demonstrated the importance of exercise and sleep hygiene to the children.
"(It) clearly demonstrates the specific benefit of exercise for children, in addition to that of good sleep hygiene and the limitation of screen time contributing positively to the cognitive development," he said.
"The article provides an understanding of how vital exercise is to pediatric brain development, and the potentially detrimental effects of reduced sleep and increased screen time for cognition," Newman said.