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Preschool screen use associated with structural differences in the brain

Screen use in young children is linked to lower structural integrity in the part of the brain responsible for language and literacy skills

10 Nov 2019 by Selina Powell

New research has highlighted that screen use among young children is linked to lower structural integrity in the parts of the brain that support language skills.

The study, which was published in JAMA Paediatrics, involved 47 children between the ages of three and five.

The children completed standard cognitive tests as well as a type of magnetic resonance imaging scan that provides estimates of white matter integrity in the brain.

Parents of the children then completed a questionnaire about their child’s use of digital devices.

Researchers found that higher amounts of screen time were associated with lower literacy skills, expressive language and a compromised ability to rapidly name objects.

Screen time was also linked to lower integrity of brain white matter in tracts linked to literacy skills.

The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that children younger than 18 months avoid the use of screen media other than video chatting.

For children aged between two and five, it is recommended that screen use be limited to one hour per day of “high-quality programmes.”

Image credit: Pixabay/Andi_Graf

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