Get Up to 48% Off on Select Fermented Products Get Up to 48% Off on Select Fermented Products

ADVERTISEMENT

Screen Time Linked to Lower Brain Development

More kids today than ever before are staring at iPads, iPhones, game consoles, computer screens and television screens for hours on end. If you think siting your child in front of the TV each night so you can get some peace and quiet is harmless, think again. Research has shown that heavy screen time can actually alter your child's brain — and not for the better.

smartphones

In a new study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, researchers found an association between screen use and brain development. To conduct the study, researchers used special brain scans to assess the integrity of the white matter in the brain in 47 children from middle- to upper-middle class English-speaking households. They scored screen time based on answers parents provided about total screen time, whether or not their child had a screen in their bedroom and exposure to violent content, among other things. The researchers then compared the scores to each child’s brain scan.

Researchers looked specifically at the coating of the connections between nerve cells, called myelin. Myelin makes white matter white, and insulates nerve cells to increase the efficiency of signaling. Lead study author, Dr. John S. Hutton, explained, “The more these areas are encouraged to talk to one another, whether language areas or executive function, the more that coating of the wires is stimulated.  The amount of myelin around a nerve fiber is directly related to how often it’s stimulated, how often it’s used.”

According to the study, around 41% of children had screens in their bedroom and about 60% had their own portable devices. The average screen time per day was an hour and a half, but screen time ranges from 0 to 12 hours a day. Researchers found that children with higher screen time had lower measures of structural integrity and myelination, specifically when it came to literacy and language skills.

The study also showed that children with higher screen time had poorer expressive language and scored worse on language processing speed tests, such as naming objects at a rapid pace.

Dr. Hutton explained, “Kids this age, they need human experiences for their brains to develop optimally and reinforce these tracts. We just really need to be careful about making sure kids have access to these same human interactive experiences that probably our brains are wired to require.”

Click Here and be the first to comment on this article
Post your comment