Why it may not be ‘screen time’ that’s stunting development of kids’ brains

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A new study links young children’s screen time with changes in the brain and slower language development. But parents, before you freak out, take note: Experts — including the author of the study — say it’s probably because of what activities the screen time is replacing instead of the iPads themselves.

The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, tested 47 children between the ages of three and five on their language and budding reading skills. It also measured the integrity of white matter tracts — bundles of nerve fibers that connect different brain regions — using a special type of MRI scan called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).

While the kids were busy in the scanner, their parents filled out the ScreenQ [questionnaire].

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The researchers found that higher scores on the ScreenQ corresponded to lower white matter organization and myelination — a fatty substance that coats the nerve fibers so that electrical signals travel more efficiently through the brain.

..

“We know that real-time interactions with adult caretakers are really important for language development in young children, and we know that screens can’t fill that gap,” [neuroscientist Daniel Anderson] says. “What they may have found simply is that screens are a proxy for minimal parent-child interactions.”

Read full, original post: Do Screens Really Stunt Kids’ Brains?

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