Limiting your child's screen time could improve cognition

Limiting your child's screen time could improve cognition

Limiting your child's screen time could improve cognition

Provided they have sufficient sleep and physical activity.

Less than two hours of screen time a day was the one factor most linked to better performance in the test.

As part of the study, 4,500 children in the United States were surveyed on the behaviors and were also assessed on their cognitive ability which included language, memory, processing speed, and attention.

On average, children aged eight to 11 spent 3.6 hours per day glued to a TV, mobile phone, tablet or computer screen, almost double the suggested limit of two hours, researchers found.

Just over half (51 per cent) of the children studied slept the recommended amount, more than a third (37 per cent) met the screen time guideline but only 18 per cent were getting enough physical activity.

The strongest link was between meeting...

"Behaviours and day-to-day activities contribute to brain and cognitive development in children, and physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep might independently and collectively affect cognition", Walsh said.

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Nineteen out of 20 children in the US failed to meet the lifestyle benchmarks.

"They stand to benefit the most because they are not receiving any of the benefits from meeting these guidelines", said Walsh.

Only 5 percent of the children in the study met all three recommendations; 30 percent met none at all.

The study concluded that the children's brain development was better with each guideline respected.

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. Newman was not involved with the new study. The data was also self-reported, which meant there could be inaccuracies in how participants answered one or more of the questions.

While the observational study captured a snapshot of a child's cognitive abilities, and only showed an association between reduced screen time and higher mental performance, it did not establish a causal link, according to the BBC. The organization suggests setting guidelines, knowing who your child is talking to, knowing what they are doing, encouraging physical playtime and creating "tech-free zones", such as bedrooms.

In the meantime he urged parents and health officials to consider two hours recreational time online as the maximum daily limit.

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