Children’s Brain Development Affected By Long Screen Time, Finds US Study

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However, only one in 20 children in the USA met the recommended guidelines.

Overall, only 5 percent of the children in the study met all three recommendations on sleep, screen time, and physical activity while 30 percent met none of the recommendations.

A study of children in the U.S has shown that limiting children's recreational screen time to less than two hours a day, sleeping sufficiently and engaging in physical activity is associated with better cognition, compared with not meeting these recommendations.

Children spent an average of 3.6 hours a day engaged in recreational screen time.

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Dr. Eduardo Esteban Bustamante, an assistant professor of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of IL at Chicago who was not directly involved in the research, suggested that the study's findings about screen time may reflect interruption of important childhood growth cycles involving stress related to physical activity and recovery from sleep.

Researchers found that children global cognition in children was positively associated with those who only spent two hours or less on screens.

The more recommendations a child met, the greater their cognitive ability. "However, these behaviors are never considered in combination", Jeremy Walsh, lead author of the study and a former post-doctoral fellow at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, told CNN.

The findings arrive as technology companies take steps to address worries over increased device use. This, as well as sleep quality and levels of exercise, were known to independently impact the cognitive health of a child. Apple recently released advanced parental controls and unveiled a new control system that lets users monitor how much they're using their iPhone.

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Other organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics have guidelines in place to help with the management of children's screen time.

Using screen devices for fun activities such as playing games or watching videos was referred to as recreational screen use.

According to the study's authors, additional research is needed to better understand the effects of different kinds of screen time on cognition, and they point out that given the study's observational nature, it does not prove a causative link between screen time on cognition.

The study drew from data that's part of an even larger, long-term research project on brain development and child health in the United States.

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