Kids’ screen time should be limited, scientists say

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Kids who spend more than two hours in front of a screen every day score lower on language and thinking tests. The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study has enrolled 11,874 children, ages 9-10, including 2,100 twins or triplets, in the US. Children who spend upwards of seven hours a day in front of a screen have been found to experience a premature thinning of the cortex, which is the outermost layer of the brain, the site of sensory input and the higher-order functions that arguably make us human. However the sudy is not yet finished, so other correlations including other factors are possible.

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“What we can say is that this is what the brains look like of kids who spend a lot of time on screens,” Gaya Dowling, an NIH doctor working on the project, explained. .But warnings were issued. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents avoid digital media use altogether, except video chatting, in children under 18 to 24 months. According to a national survey by Common Sense Media, teens spend an avg. of 4.5 hours a day on their phones. Initial data from the study will begin to be released in early 2019. Several other studies also have found that children and teens who spend more time with screens are less happy, more depressed, and more likely to be overweight.

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