The theme for kids and screen time, i. how long children with still-growing brains should be able to use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have been debated for many years. And while there is a lot of anecdotal and scientific evidence suggesting that parents restrict their children's time on screen, the National Institute of Health (NIH) has undertaken an important screen time study.
The $ 300 million study follows 11,000 children on 21 test sites throughout the country to assess how screening time, including mobile phone and video games, impacts on brain development and mental health. 60 minutes report.
To carry out the study, the teens are in an MRI machine that scans their brains. As they lie in the imaging machine, images of their Instagram profiles are displayed on their screen. (Due to the magnets in the machine – MRI means magnetic resonance imaging – teenagers can not have their smartphones inside the MRI camera). As the filtered images blink, the NMR machine scans for certain brain reactions, in the brain, chemical dopamine that is associated with appetite.
In the first wave of 4,500 participants, researchers experienced significant changes in brain development if they had more than seven hours of screen time per day. Also, it is already noticeable in the data that children who spend more than two hours a day on each screen type have received lower estimates of language and thinking tests. Of course, other results can not be seen in a few years since scientists will have a lot of data to learn long after their official data collection is completed. These long-term results can also influence the on-screen recommendations and guidelines for parents.
The NIH plans to provide the report and its data in 2019 to other scientists working on such screening studies around the world.