Hong Kong: A review of 23 years of neuroimaging research shows that children’s brain function is affected in measurable and long-term ways by the amount of time they spend watching television or playing computer games. The review also reveals some positive effects in addition to the negative ones.
The researchers do not, however, support screen time restrictions because they claim that doing so can provoke conflict. Rather, they implored legislators to assist parents in navigating the digital landscape by endorsing initiatives that foster constructive brain growth.
Specifically, the study reveals that prolonged use of screens causes alterations in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, which serves as the foundation for executive functions like working memory and the capacity to organize or adapt to changing circumstances.
Additionally, it detects effects on the temporal lobe, which is critical for memory, hearing, and language; the occipital lobe, which aids in the interpretation of visual information; and the parietal lobe, which aids in the processing of touch, pressure, heat, cold, and pain.
“Educators and caregivers alike should acknowledge that children’s digital experiences can have an impact on their cognitive development,” stated Hui Li, the chair of the Faculty of Education at The Education University of Hong Kong.
“Limiting their screen time is an effective but confronting way, and more innovative, friendly, and practical strategies could be developed and implemented. Those in policymaking positions should supply suitable guidance, involvement and backing for children’s digital use.”
The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Early Education and Development, is based on an analysis of 33 studies which used neuroimaging technology to measure the impact of digital technology on the brains of children under the age of 12. In total, more than 30,000 participants are included.