Health Care

Too much screen time, too little horseplay for kids

Too much screen time, too little horseplay for kids”

The strongest link was between meeting...

The study is based on data gathered from over 4,500 US 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.

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.

It's interesting to note that even children who do not regularly exercise or achieve the recommended amount of sleep but kept their screen time down to a maximum of two hours, still performed 4% better than average.

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.

The children were later asked to complete a cognition test where they were assessed on their memory, attention, language abilities and processing speed.

When examined on the basis of individual recommendations, less than two hours of recreational screen time in a day was linked to the most beneficial effect on cognition.

Although the report was focused on children in the US, Walsh says the findings could be applicable in any country.

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

Children and parents completed questionnaires at the start of the trial to estimate the child's physical activity, sleep and screen time.

But scientists in Canada found only one in 20 of the 4,520 USA children studied were meeting all of these key recommendations.

In his commentary, Dr. Bustamante likens the problem of screen time to the challenge of the childhood obesity epidemic, and said that both have been propagated by their profitability to industry, convenience to parents, and pleasure for children. Newman was not involved with the new study.

"Each minute spent on screens necessarily displaces a minute from sleep".

But the team claims following these guidelines in childhood, particularly for screen time, is key for mental development.

"The link between sedentary behaviours, like recreational screen time, is unclear as this research is in the early stages and it appears to vary depending on the types of screen-based activity". Google has also introduced new features to limit screen time and monitor use on Android devices.

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