Limiting your child's screen time could improve cognition

A poll conducted for Common Sense Media a nonprofit focused on helping children parents teachers and policymakers negotiate media and technology explores families and technology addiction

The National Institutes of Health has funded researchers to track the biological and behavioral development of children through adolescence, tracking how childhood experiences such as sports, sleep patterns, social media, and video games influence a young person's life.

However, only one in 20 U.S. children in the study met the three recommendations advised by the Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines to ensure good cognitive development.

Of the observed children, at least 71 percent met at least one recommendation but only 5 percent met all three.

Researchers discovered, by analysing United States children's data for eight to 11-year-old, the more of the recommendations a child fulfilled, the better their cognition.

Letting children spend more than two hours a day on their phones could damage their brain power, a study has found.

The study is based on data gathered from over 4,500 USA kids aged 8 to 11 between September 2016 and September 2017 as part of a new, federally funded 10-year study on brain development and child health.

"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".

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After examining their lifestyles, the researchers gave the youngsters a test to assess their language abilities, thinking skills, attention, memory and processing speed.

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

Children aged eight to 11 who used screens for fun for less than two hours a day performed better in tests of mental ability, a study found.

"We really had an opportunity here to look at how meeting each of these guidelines and meeting all of the guidelines relate to cognition in a large sample of American children". Each minute spent on screens necessarily displaces a minute from sleep or cognitively challenging activities.

In addition, meeting only the screen time recommendation or both the screen time and sleep recommendations had the strongest associations with cognitive development.

Children and parents completed questionnaires and measures at the outset of the trial to estimate the child's physical activity, sleep and screen time. Google has also introduced new features to limit screen time and monitor use on Android devices.

Researchers said more work was now needed to better understand the effects of different types of screen use.

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