Limiting screen time to less than two hours every day for children between the ages of eight to 11 will enhance their mental ability, according to a new study published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.
According to the study, as reported by the BBC, limiting screen time along with nine to 11 hours of sleep in children leads to better performance.
The study, that examined 45,000 children, found a link between better cognition and limiting screen time in children but has not been able to identify the cause. In order to arrive at the result, a set of questionnaires were used to gauge the child’s sleep, physical activity, the estimated time they spend before the screen. They were also given a test where they needed to use their cognitive skills like attention span, memory and language. The study considered ethnicity, Body mass index (BMI), household income and, if any, traumatic brain injury.
“Based on our findings, pediatricians, parents, educators, and policymakers should promote limiting recreational screen time and prioritising healthy sleep routines throughout childhood and adolescence,” Dr Jeremy Walsh at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute, in Ottawa, Canada, said.
However, he also added that playing video games or watching educational programmes can help in cognition. Contrary to this, spending long hours on social media or using mobile phones can be detrimental.
“These results will hopefully stimulate further research using techniques that allow researchers to explore how multiple behaviours may interplay to benefit cognition and health,” Dr Kirsten Corder, a senior investigator scientist at the University of Cambridge said. She, however, was not part of the study.