Screen Time in Infancy May Affect Brain Development

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Emerging from a study in Singapore, scientists present findings suggesting a potential link between early screen time exposure and altered brain development in children. The research, focusing on executive function—a complex cognitive skill set encompassing planning, attention, and rule recall—reveals notable differences in attention and brain activity among 9-year-olds based on their screen time during infancy.

The study involved a cohort of over 400 children, with parental reports documenting daily screen time for infants at 12 months and repeated assessments until 54 months. A subset of children underwent brain electrical activity monitoring at 18 months. At 9 years old, attention and brain function evaluations utilized laboratory tests and teacher reports.

Results indicate a correlation between increased screen time during infancy, changes in brain activity, and compromised performance in executive function tasks. The average screen time for 12-month-olds in the study was approximately two hours per day. Intriguingly, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry recommends abstaining from screen time for children under 18 months, excluding video chats.

Lead author Evelyn Law underscores the study's significance, advocating for vigilant monitoring of children's screen time, especially during critical early stages of brain development. However, the study does not delve into the specific content of screen exposure, and screen time data relies on parental reports rather than direct measurement by researchers.


1- What cognitive skill set does the study particularly focus on concerning infants' screen time?

2- What did the study reveal about children's attention and brain activity at 9 years old based on their screen time during infancy?

3- What recommendation does lead author Evelyn Law make based on the study's findings?


You have completed the comprehension questions. 

Parts of this lesson are based on: An article by Bill Smith.