Wired Kids: How Screen Time Affects Children’s Brains
The Effects of Screen Time on Brain Development
Screen time affects the brain development of children and teenagers. There are many studies showing that screen time has negative effects on children’s cognitive abilities.
These effects include lower IQ, attention problems, poor memory, and learning disabilities. Other research shows that screen time may affect teen brains differently than it does those of children. Teenagers’ brains have not developed as much, so they are less affected by screen time. However, there is evidence that teens with higher levels of stress hormones such as cortisol are more susceptible to the negative effects of screen time.
It is clear from these studies that parents need to limit their children’s exposure to screens during childhood and adolescence. Parents should avoid exposing young children to TV or computers at all costs (see here).
If parents do allow screen time, they should limit it to only one hour per day. They should also encourage their children to spend quality time together outside of school hours.
Studies show that the more screen time a child engages in, the worse his or her academic performance tends to become later in life. Studies also suggest that screen time negatively impacts social skills and self-esteem.
Screen time may even increase aggression in some cases (see here).
What Can You Do?
Parents should limit their children’s screen time as much as possible. In order to do this, they should follow these steps:
Turn off the TV when not in use.
Delete all apps from your child’s phone.
Hide the cable remote control (some parents even go so far as to lock it up).
Make regular computer time-outs for your child. Use a schedule if necessary.
Make family game night a priority.
Talk to your kids about the effects of excessive screen time. (see here)
Research shows that parents who take these steps have children who experience improved GPA’s, increased reading scores, and better memory recall. It may take more work on the part of parents, but the results are well worth it.
You might also interested in: Effects of Screen Time on Your Child’s Health
With these steps you can lower the amount of screen time your children engage in. This will lead to better overall health, improved academic performance and may even decrease the chance of your child becoming addicted to screens later in life.
It will also improve the relationship you have with your children.
It is important to note that all screen time, no matter how small the amount, is harmful to a child’s brain development. The American Academy of Pediatrics has determined that any screen time can lead to decreases in cognitive ability and mental well-being.
If you engage in these types of activities as a family, then do your best to make screen free times a priority instead.
Sources & references used in this article:
Failure to connect: How computers affect our children’s minds–for better and worse by JM Healy – 1999 – books.google.com
Endangered Minds: Why Children Dont Think And What We Can Do About I by DJ Siegel, TP Bryson – 2012 – Bantam
Impacts of technology use on children: Exploring literature on the brain, cognition and well-being by JM Healy – 2011 – books.google.com
Power Down & Parent Up!: Cyber Bullying, Screen Dependence & Raising Tech-healthy Children by F Gottschalk – 2019 – oecd-ilibrary.org
Cartoons’ effect in changing children mental response and behavior by H Kenley – 2017 – books.google.com