Limiting children’s recreational screen use has been linked with improved cognition.

Children aged eight to 11 who used screens for fun for less than two hours a day performed better in tests of mental ability, a study found.

Combining this with nine to 11 hours of sleep a night was found to be best for performance.

Researchers said more work was now needed to better understand the effects of different types of screen use.

However, they acknowledge that their observational study shows only an association between screen time and cognition and cannot prove a causal link.

And it did not look at how children were using their screen time, be it to watch television, play videogames or use social media.

The study, of 4,500 US children, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal, used questionnaires to estimate the child’s:

  • physical activity
  • sleep
  • recreational screen time

Children also completed a test, which assessed cognitive skills, including:

  • language
  • memory
  • attention

The study controlled for:

  • household income
  • parental and child education
  • ethnicity
  • pubertal development
  • body mass index (BMI)
  • traumatic brain injury


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