Is spending too much time in front of screens harmful to child development? The debate is not new, but a new study comes to try to answer this question. His conclusions are clear: parents have every interest in keeping their offspring as far away as possible from smartphones, tablets and televisions.
For their research, scientists from a University of Illinois in the United States recruited 356 children aged 0 to 5 years. Their parents were asked to complete a questionnaire on the behavior of the latter and the average time they spent in front of the screens. Many variables were studied, in particular the child’s level of planning, his memory, his ability to concentrate, his reactions.
The researchers were able to clearly establish that those who spent less than an hour in front of a screen had better cognitive abilities than the others. This was all the more marked in those who practiced physical activity, who benefited from better memory and better concentration.
Children aged 3 to 17 spend three hours a day in front of screens
The authors therefore logically suggest that parents encourage their children to exercise and spend less time behind their devices. A healthy and balanced diet is also beneficial to their development.
As a reminder, this is far from the first time that this phenomenon has been singled out. We told you last year about this study conducted in France which found that children aged 3 to 17 spend an average of three hours a day in front of screens.
This generates harmful effects, as we have seen in Île-de-France where more than half of adolescents who watch screens for more than two hours in the evening sleep less than 7 hours a night, instead of 8 to 10 recommended hours.
In the longer term, it is not better, and cognitive problems can appear with concerns of attention, concentration, even dependence and addictions. This reflects on the school where writing and language difficulties appear in class. There are also problems of overweight related to the lack of physical activity, or even depression due to the lack of social interactions.
Finally, experts recommend avoiding as much as possible exposing children under the age of six to screens. Finally, note that it is quite ironic to note that the bosses of American Tech giants, such as Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, have claimed to educate their children by keeping them as far away as possible from screens.