Long-term Presence Near The Screen Is Associated With A Slowdown In The Development Of The Brain Of Preschoolers

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Long-term Presence Near The Screen Is Associated With A Slowdown In The Development Of The Brain Of Preschoolers
Long-term Presence Near The Screen Is Associated With A Slowdown In The Development Of The Brain Of Preschoolers

Video: Long-term Presence Near The Screen Is Associated With A Slowdown In The Development Of The Brain Of Preschoolers

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Long-term presence near the screen is associated with a slowdown in the development of the brain of preschoolers

In recent years, the time that preschool children, including babies, spend in front of screens has increased dramatically. This directly affects the development of the brain during this sensitive period of life. In a new study, scientists have shown that the level of development of the white matter of the brain and the time spent at the screen are linked in children 3-5 years old.

Long-term presence near the screen is associated with a slowdown in the development of the brain of preschoolers
Long-term presence near the screen is associated with a slowdown in the development of the brain of preschoolers

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In recent years, the time that preschool children, including babies, spend in front of screens has increased dramatically. This directly affects the development of the brain during this sensitive period of life.

In a new study, scientists scanned the brains of children aged 3 to 5 years. They found that those who spent more than the recommended one hour a day at the screen without parental intervention had lower levels of brain white matter development, which is key for language, literacy and cognitive development. The study was published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

"This is the first study to show a link between more time children spend in front of the screen and less development of brain structure and skills in preschoolers," said lead study author Dr. John Hutton, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital Cincinnati. He also emphasizes that in the first five years of life, the brain is very plastic, it "absorbs" everything, forming strong connections for life.

Research has shown that excessive television viewing is associated with children's inability to concentrate and think clearly. At the same time, bad eating habits and behavioral problems are more common. Associations have also been found between excessive screen time and speech delay and poor sleep.

Such children, moreover, often grow up without proper interaction with their parents. According to Dr. Hutton, where a child spends 5 hours a day in front of the TV, parents usually sit in front of the TV for 10 hours, which means they have little time for the child.

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Of particular concern to scientists is the use of modern portable devices, which are often placed in a baby's crib. According to Hutton, about 90% of children spend time in front of the screen by the age of 1

The new study used a special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) called diffusion tensor imaging. This type of MRI allows you to get a good look at the white matter, which is responsible for the formation of connections between different parts of the brain.

Scientists studied 47 healthy children with healthy brains (27 girls and 20 boys) who had not yet attended kindergarten. Before the MRI, the children underwent cognitive tests, and their parents answered questions about the time the child spends at the screen.

The results showed that, on average, children spent just over two hours a day at the screen. Children who spent more than an hour at the screen without interacting with their parents had more disorganized and less developed white matter throughout their brains. Brain imaging results are consistent with behavioral and cognitive testing.

Scientists note that we are not talking about any damage to the white matter of the brain, but about its underdevelopment due to the fact that the child is passive, spending time at the screen, which also affects the development of the brain. The authors emphasize that active social interaction is extremely important for the development of cognitive abilities in the first years of life.

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