start as late as possible.
A baby girl with a smartphone (Photo: ShutterStock)
If the warning from the head of the US Public Health Service, Dr. Vivek Marty, who said this week that "he believes 13 is too young for children to be on social media platforms," didn't worry you, maybe this study will
. Watching tablets and television may hurt their academic achievement and emotional well-being later on, according to a new study. Researchers found that increased use of screen time during infancy was associated with poorer executive function once the child was 9. The study was published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
The results support the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
for pediatrics, which prevents any screen time before the age of 18 months, with the exception of video calls.
Executive functioning skills are mental processes that "allow us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and successfully juggle multiple tasks," according to Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child.
These executive functioning skills are important for higher-level cognition, such as emotional regulation, learning, academic achievement, and mental health.
They affect our success socially, academically, professionally and in the way we take care of ourselves, Prof. Erica Cipini, an expert in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, told CNN.
"Although these cognitive processes develop naturally from infancy to adulthood, they are also influenced by the experiences we have and when we have them in our development," said Cipini, who was not involved in the research.
The past is the future.
Children in a study class (Photo: ShutterStock)
The study looked at data from Growing Up in Singapore Towards Health Outcomes, or GUSTO, which surveyed women of all socioeconomic backgrounds during the first trimester of pregnancy.
The sample consisted of 437 children who underwent an EEG test, which is used to test the neural pathways of cognitive functions in the brain, at the age of 1, 18 months and 9 years.
The parents reported each child's screen time, and researchers found that there was a link between screen time in infancy and attention and executive function at age 9.
However, more research is needed to determine whether screen time caused deficits in executive function or if there were other factors in the child's environment that caused them to be impaired For both more screen time and poorer executive function, the study noted.