For most of us, smartphones and tablets weren’t around while we were growing up. But these days, it’s not uncommon to see babies on the bus or MRT tapping their screens and playing mobile games or watching videos.
Although it’s a good way to keep these kids entertained, is it beneficial for their development?
Not at all, according to a study reported by CNN.
After testing children of age 3 to 5, it was discovered that kids who used screens for more than an hour a day without parental involvement, which is the recommended amount, had poorer development of their brain’s white matter.
White Matter And Why It Matters
The white matter is the part of the brain that helps in the development of one’s speaking skills, cognitive skills, the ability to read and pick up languages so it is important for it to properly develop when kids are young.
One of the doctors involved in the study, Dr. John Hutton said “This is important because the brain is developing the most rapidly in the first five years. That’s when brains are very plastic and soaking up everything, forming these strong connections that last for life.”
As seen in the picture, the blue areas are the less developed areas of white matter tracts in one’s brain due to higher screen usage.
Excessive Screen Usage is Bad
Other than a poorer development of one’s brain’s white matter, other studies have shown that watching too much TV could lead to kids being unable to process thoughts coherently and could deter them from paying attention in the future. This could also lead to poorer eating habits and other problems with their behaviour.
The reason why Dr Hutton states the kids use so much screen time could be because their parents do too and this results in less time for parent-child interactions.
Also, because of mobile devices, it has become so easy for kids to use screens any and everywhere.