The article delves into a comprehensive review of 33 brain imaging studies covering 23 years and including 30,000 participants. It aims to unveil the impact of screen time on the brain development of children below 12 years old.
Executive Functions and Structural Changes
The research identifies a correlation between screen time and the development of executive functions in the brain. These functions, including working memory and planning abilities, undergo changes marked by structural alterations in the pre-frontal cortex, a region closely associated with executive functions.
Sensory Information Processing
Screen time influences the processing of sensory information in children. Notably, changes were observed in the parietal lobes, responsible for deciphering touch, pressure, heat, cold, and pain.
Digital Engagement and Neuroplasticity
The study seeks to understand how digital engagement affects the brain’s plasticity during critical periods of child development. Neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to change through growth and reorganization, is explored concerning the impact of screen time.
Changes in Different Brain Regions
Digital activity induces changes in various brain regions critical to cognitive functions. The temporal lobes, essential for memory, hearing, and language, and the occipital lobes, responsible for interpreting visual information, are highlighted.
Negative Impacts on Cognitive Functions
Screen time is associated with negative impacts on crucial brain functions, particularly those related to attention and higher-order thinking skills involved in behavior control.
Association with Intelligence Scores and Brain Volume
Certain studies reveal associations between video games, high internet usage, and degrading intelligence scores, along with reductions in brain volume.
Rather than advocating strict limits on screen time, the researchers propose a nuanced approach. Policymakers are urged to promote programs supporting positive brain development, emphasizing guidance, involvement, and backing for children’s digital use. The article encourages innovative, friendly, and practical strategies over confrontational limitations on screen time.