Screen time limits studied
Limiting children’s recreational screen time to less than two hours a day linked to better cognition.
A new study of more than 4,500 US children aged 8-11 years old found limiting recreational screen time to less than two hours a day, and having sufficient sleep and physical activity is associated with improved cognition, compared with not meeting any recommendations.
Taken individually, limited screen time and improved sleep were associated with the strongest links to improved cognition.
The study found that US children spend an average of 3.6 hours a day engaged in recreational screen time.
The authors say that their findings indicate that adhering to the guidelines during childhood and adolescence, particularly for screen time, is important for cognitive development.
“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,” says Dr Jeremy Walsh from the CHEO Research Institute in Canada.
“Evidence suggests that good sleep and physical activity are associated with improved academic performance, while physical activity is also linked to better reaction time, attention, memory, and inhibition. The link between sedentary behaviours, like recreational screen time, is unclear as this research is in the early stages and it appears to vary depending on the types of screen-based activity.”