Researchers say Children get used to Tools from an Early Age
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health at the University of Albany and the Langone Medical Center at New York University found that the amount of time children spend daily using various tools increased from 53 minutes at age 1 to more than 150 minutes at age 3 years old.
At eight years, the maximum time was recorded in the group of children who were born first in the family, as well as among those raised at home.
“Our results show that screening habits are formed early,” said Edwina Jung, PhD, senior author of the study and a research scientist in the division of epidemiology at the National Institute of Child Health and Development.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver (NICHD). She says this suggests that “measures to reduce screening time may have a better chance of success if implemented early.”
Researchers and colleagues at the National Institute for Human Development (NICHD) analyzed KIDS data in upstate New York, tracking the growth of children conceived after fertility treatment who were born in upstate New York from 2008 to 2010.
Mothers of nearly 4,000 children who participated in the study answered questions on a questionnaire about their children when they were 12, 18, 24, 30 and 36 months old. They also answered similar questions when the children were 7 and 8 years old.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding digital media exposure for children younger than 18 months, offering gadgets to children aged 18 to 24 months, and limiting screen time to one hour per day for children aged 2 to 5 years.
However, the current study showed that 87% of children spend more time on electronic devices. Interestingly, viewing time increased throughout children’s lives, but by the age of 7-8 it decreased to 1.5 hours a day. The researchers associated this with going to school.
In the study, two groups of children were conditionally identified: in the first group, the average daily examination time increased from 1 to 3 years, from 51 minutes to 1 hour and 47 minutes. In the second, it increased from 37 minutes to about 4 hours a day.
The authors of the work observe that the higher the level of education of the parents, the lower the probability of their children being in the second group. Also, girls were less likely to fall into this group, but more often included children of mothers who gave birth for the first time. Twins were also more common in the group.
Just a few days ago, another study was published in JAMA Pediatrics, which was based on the results of MRI scans of the brains of children. The researchers selected 47 children, ages 3 to 5, who were given a test to measure their cognitive abilities.
Their parents answered a series of questions about their children’s smartphone and tablet usage habits: “How often do kids use gadgets?”
What kind of content do they watch? Do adults watch what a child does with a gadget? Brain scans have shown that children who spend more time being examined have lower white matter integrity.
White matter can be roughly represented as the brain’s internal communication network. Its long nerve fibers are covered in a kind of “insulation” that allows electrical signals to travel from one area of the brain to another without interruption.
The integrity of this structure lies in how well the nerve fibers are organized and how well developed the sheath is associated with cognitive abilities. The researchers explained that it develops especially when children learn to speak.
Children’s cognitive testing showed an association between greater intensity of tool use and lower levels of language and grammar skills.
Dr. Signa Lauren Bray of the University of Calgary points out that it is not yet clear how the duration of work with devices causes changes in brain development.
However, according to her calculations, the more time a child spends using gadgets, the more symptoms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) appear.
However, this study also suggests that symptoms may be why children are worried about the test. Researchers have not yet discovered the exact link.
In conclusion, scientists advised, however, that the child should not get used to the tools until he is at least 3 years old.