Early exposure to screens may cause children to have less advanced cognitive abilities. According to researchers, more study is necessary to comprehend the potential connection.
According to a recent study, the amount of time infants spend staring at computer, TV, and phone displays during their first year of life may be indirectly related to worse cognitive abilities later in life.
The study, which was released on Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, found that babies who watched an average of two hours of screen usage per day subsequently fared worse on executive functions at age 9.
The study’s researchers defined executive functions as “a set of higher-order cognitive skills needed for self-regulation, learning, and academic accomplishment, as well as mental health” and claim that they are connected to long-term academic success.
More than 400 kids were investigated by the researchers.
According to Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News chief medical correspondent, who was not involved in the study, “they did EEGs to test and study brain waves at about 18 months and then connected the dots between how much screen time they were seeing in infancy and how they performed on memory and attention tests around the age of 9.” And they discovered that at the age of 9, babies who spent the most time watching screens performed the lowest on tests of attention and memory.
The study did not establish a causal link between screen usage and impaired cognitive performance. Lower cognitive functioning scores also appeared to be related to other variables, such as a family’s financial level.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that children under the age of 2 should not use screens coincides with the findings.
The AAP advises limiting screen usage for kids between the ages of 2 and 5 to just one hour each day, under adult supervision.
Researchers at the University of Calgary examined more than 60 studies involving more than 89,000 children worldwide and found that more than 75% of children under the age of two and 64% of children between the ages of two and five are overweight or obese.
Above the age of five, parents, according to the AAP, should set restrictions on screen time and collaborate with their kids to develop a family media use plan that includes time limits and standards for the kinds of media kids should be consuming.
According to certain research, there may be some social or emotional benefits for older children, especially teens, Ashton said. Therefore, a lot depends on what our children and teens are seeing on screens, not just how much of it they watch.
Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, made news earlier this week by opining that children should not use social networking sites until they are at least 13 years old, despite Facebook and Instagram, two of the most popular sites, having that age as their minimum requirement.
According to study, certain teens and adolescents’ usage of social media is associated with signs of sadness and anxiety, problems with their body image, and reduced life satisfaction. One major study identified a correlation between heavy social media usage during adolescent puberty and poorer life satisfaction one year later.
Not all teenagers go through those things. It’s still unclear if there are distinctions in the consequences on mental health based on when kids first use social media, and researchers are still trying to figure out who is more at risk of harmful effects from social media.
Ashton provided the following four advice for parents attempting to interpret recommendations around social media and screen time with their children:
1. Phones are not allowed at family dinners or dinner tables.
2. One hour before night, put away the screens.
3. When sleeping, avoid using screens or phones in the bedroom.
4. Set a good example for your children by restricting your personal usage of social media and screens.