With all of the technological advancements in our world, there is now an entire generation of kids who are growing up with smartphones, tablets, and other internet-enabled electronic devices. Kids seem to be glued to their devices and many have a very difficult time transitioning away from them. This has many parents wondering: what effect does screen time have on kids’ developing brains?
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health recently offered a glimpse of the answer, based on preliminary data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study.
There are two big takeaways from the initial findings:
- MRI scans found significant differences in the brains of some children who reported using smartphones, tablets, and video games more than seven hours a day.
- Children who reported more than two hours a day of screen time got lower scores on thinking and language tests.
Other studies have found that excessive screen time can harm children’s health, like increasing obesity and disrupting sleep.
For parents concerned about the implications of their child’s screen time, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated their media guidelines based on recent research.
General screen time guidelines include:
- For children under 18 months old, no screen time.
- For children 18 to 24 months old, parents should choose only high-quality media and watch it with their child.
- For children 2 to 5 years old, less than one hour per day of high-quality programming is recommended, with parents watching along.
Not all screen time is a bad thing, there are many educational apps that are free and can help young children learn basic handwriting, communication, and attention skills. What is important to remember is that children are like sponges, and every experience they have can impact them. Screen time for young kids should be a privilege. Be concrete and set limits from the very beginning and it will be a much more positive experience!
If you think your child is in need of occupational, physical, or speech therapy call us today to set up a FREE screening at 586-323-2957!
Written by Steph Earl, COTA