Quite obvious really

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I hate to see parents using a screen as an artificial babysitter. Yes, it keeps the kiddos quiet but it is causing some significant damage to their developing brains. From the MIT Technology Review:

Screen time might be physically changing kids’ brains
study published today in JAMA Pediatrics warns that kids’ literacy and language skills suffer with screen use, and MRI scans of their brains appear to back up the findings.

The study: Forty-seven 3- to 5-year-olds took a test to measure their cognitive abilities, and their parents were asked to answer a detailed survey about screen time habits. Questions included: How frequently do they use that screen? What type of content are they viewing? And is there an adult sitting with the child talking about what they’re watching? The answers were scored against a set of screen time guidelines put out by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The kids also had their brains scanned in an MRI machine.

Brain changes: The scans revealed that kids who spent more time in front of screens had what the authors call lower “white matter integrity.” White matter can be roughly thought of as the brain’s internal communications network—its long nerve fibers are sheathed in fatty insulation that allows electrical signals to move from one area of the brain to another without interruption. The integrity of that structure—how well organized the nerve fibers are, and how well developed the myelin sheath is—is associated with cognitive function, and it develops as kids learn language. 

Lead author John Hutton of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital told MIT Technology Review there’s a clear link between higher screen use and lower white matter integrity in the children his team studied. That structural change appears to be reflected in the results of the cognitive test the kids took as well, which showed high screen time associated with lower levels of language and literacy skills. “The effect size is substantial, as these findings also rigorously controlled for multiple comparisons across the brain,” Hutton says.

Sample size was pretty small (less than 70) but the evidence is pretty overwhelming.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on November 6, 2019 1:50 PM.

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