According to a new study, screen time can adversely affect infant academic success. Contrary to previous thought, allowing infants to watch tablets and television may actually hurt them in the long run, instead of giving them a leg up.
The new research study was recently published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics where Researchers found that increased screen time during infancy was related to poorer executive functioning once a child turned nine-years-old.
According to the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child, executive functioning skills are defined as “mental processes that ‘enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully.’ ”
“Babies and kids are also social learners and very much benefit from the back-and-forth interaction with others (adults and kids) which is hard to achieve with screens,” said Dr. Erika Chiappini, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore said via an email interview with CNN.com.
The research sample group focused on 437 children within the data set from Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes, or GUSTO. The children underwent electroencephalography (EEG) scans, which were used to look at the neural pathways of cognitive functions in the brain, at age one, 18-months and nine-years-old.
Dr. Joyce Harrison, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who was not directly involved in the research, agreed with the findings of the study. Harrison stated that screen time should never substitute adult-interaction.
Harrison told CNN.com, “There is no substitute for adult interaction, modeling and teaching.”
Chiappini adds to Harrison’s sentiment via email saying that, “Babies and kids are also social learners and very much benefit from the back-and-forth interaction with others (adults and kids) which is hard to achieve with screens.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that there should only be one exception to screen time before the age of 18-months-old. The only time that screen time should be used prior to this age group is in the case of video chatting.
To read the study in its entirety, click here.