You may have already heard that cutting back on screen time in kids can actually make them smarter. But new studies reveal just how much excessive screen time can affect your child’s academic performance, and in particular, their cognitive skills.
According to a recent study in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal, the effects of screen time on academic performance is “substantial.” This study illuminates the obvious link between screen time in kids and getting better grades in school.
Are Cognitive Skills Really That Important?
Just how important are cognitive skills? Well, your child’s cognitive abilities determine how well they perform in school and in life in general. According to doctors, better cognitive skills improve kids’ chances of overall success.
Cognitive Skills Include:
- Processing Speed
- Focus and Paying Attention
This most recent study looked at the lives of over 4,500 children. Their daily habits such as diets, sleeping habits, screen time, and physical activity were all monitored closely. Then, these kids were tested and their reaction times were scored and charted.
Kids who spent more than 2 hours daily watching screens couldn’t concentrate as well. They had difficulty thinking and scored lower on language and memory tests. Their processing time was slower, they had a harder time remembering things, and they struggled to pay attention during the tests.
Those who spent less than 2 hours of screen time daily, along with getting proper sleep and exercise, performed better on a variety of tests. They scored higher in math, reading, and writing as well.
Long-Term Effects Of Screen Time
The effects of screen time in kids may be more far-reaching than initially thought. Screen time, exercise, and good sleep habits can affect kids for years. Moreover, these habits can set the stage for health and wellness or illness in the future.
Children in the study were revisited one year later and, again, they performed a variety of tests. Still, those who spent less than 2 hours a day in front of screens and who also got the recommended amount of sleep performed better on a standardized writing test. Scientists and doctors don’t yet know just how influential and encompassing screen time habits may be in a child’s future.
Helping Improve Cognitive Skills
While the conclusions of this and other studies can be alarming, there are some practical ways that you can utilize to help prevent excessive screen time in your kids. You can also improve their cognitive skills at the same time.
Doctors recommend using screen time as a reward rather than as a babysitter for your kids. Parents need to stop allowing children to think of screen time as the “go-to” activity with unlimited access. Instead, they should replace that time with healthier activities.
The focus of replacement activities should be togetherness. Activities like family audio dramas, walks, and board games all fit into the recommendations. In addition, parents can create screen-free zones and encourage outdoor activities.
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More Brain Power Means More Success
Parents need to be aware of their child’s entire day and aim for a balanced life that includes healthy eating, lots of physical activity, and plenty of sleep. You can set your kids up for success in school by helping them create these habits early on and by limiting their screen time. They will possess better cognitive skills (or brain power as it could be called), fare much better in school, and they will achieve far greater things in life.
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You may also consider reading another Live The Adventure Letter article: Alarming New Statistics Reveal The Effects Of Screen Time On Kids
Do you have any additional thoughts on how screen time in kids can be a detriment to their cognitive skills? Let us know in the comments below.