Studies show that the use of screens can affect children’s cognitive development
A recent study conducted by a team at the National Children’s Medical Center in Shanghai and the Shanghai Xiao Tong University School of Medicine – both in China – found that extra exposure to children aged 0 to 3 on the device screen can also affect your cognitive control. As your attention develops skills.
The study, led by Jiang Fan, a professor at the Shanghai Xiao Tong University School of Medicine, found that children over the age of three who were exposed to the device’s screen experienced more consequences, including IQ loss, less comprehension and perceptual reasoning, in addition to hyperactive behavior.
For the research, Fan’s team used a congenital homologous database – which matches the follow-up of potential individuals from birth (or pregnancy) to adulthood – called a schedule. It was created in 2012, collecting data from more than 220,000 children in 10 Chinese provinces and cities.
The team relied on data from children up to the age of 10 and was also used for other research by Fan, who in recent years tracked the impact of lifestyle on children’s health and the effects of screen exposure to devices in their cognitive development. The first year of their lives.
Based on the data, the researchers found that 76% of children in Shanghai had access to device screens by the age of 2, while 24% of them started watching TV before the age of 1 due to parental influence. In addition, 3-year-olds reached an average daily time of 2 hours and 50 minutes of on-screen exposure, with 78.6% of them exceeding the recommended limit of one hour per day.
Consequences of screen exposure
For the study, Fan’s team tracked the development of children from 6 months and evaluated the changes brought about on the screen of the device up to 6 years of age by considering the causes of cognitive development, language and behavioral problems.
Scientists have classified children into three dominant groups. The previous one had less continuous use (with an uninterrupted amount of screen time), the latter had a sharp increase in screen time at 3 years of age, and the latter had much more screen time before 3 years of age and was stable after that.
The three groups showed significant differences in cognitive function and psychological problems as they grew up to 6 years of age. In terms of behavior, children who had longer screen time before the age of 3 had more emotional problems than those who had stable screen time. Among the problems were hyperactivity and lack of attention.
According to Fan, cognitive-psychological development improved in children up to the age of 6 who were exposed to the screen for less than an hour a day. Scientists also say that the effects of extra screen time may be irreversible after a certain age, although use time is reduced.
This is because newborns and young children, especially those up to 3 years old, are at the fastest stages of brain development and any cognitive process is active during this time – when children are stimulated by the real-world environment – the pre-cortex and various organs. Quick connection between field functions, which is the basis of network formation required for cognitive control.
According to the survey, parents should avoid screen exposure of children before the age of 2 years, especially before the age of 1.5 years, and limit the screen exposure to less than 1 hour per day for children over 2 years of age.
According to Fan, with the presence of electronic devices such as televisions and tablets, children’s brains adopt a passive processing technique, and prolonged exposure to these stimuli by the screen can pose a great risk to the full development of cognitive control networks.
Even if children use educational software, it is possible to find additional ads that can distract them. In addition, excessive exposure to the screen also contributes to the lack of social interaction and the development of cognitive stimuli.
For fans, it is important to make good use of new technologies to assist in the development and learning of children, but also to prevent the effects of excessive and early exposure of the screen to protect the development of the young brain.
The results of Fan’s research into the effects of screen exposure on a child’s development have been published in the international journal JAMA Pediatrics.