Last July, France’s National Assembly voted to pass a new bill that would ban primary and secondary school students 15 and younger from using a variety of internet-connected communications devices, including smartphones, tablets and smartwatches, on campus (with the exception of classroom devices and disabled children). For electronics, especially mobile phones, many children can hardly resist its charm, but parents are clearly much more cautious about it.
Although at present, let children completely eliminate is not realistic, but for mobile phones and other electronic products of all kinds of stereotypes always exist –
Electronic products play for too long, will let the child’s eyesight decline;
Long-term screen look, radiation will affect the child’s brain development;
Electronic products will let children indulge, affect learning;
So, are these ideas correct? Speak with scientific data today.
Does electronics cause myopia?
Researchers at Ohio State University conducted a 20-year follow-up study of 4,500 students between the ages of 6 and 11 in the United States in an attempt to find out the relationship between their habits of watching tv (and other electronics) and their eyesight.
Conclusion is more subversive, too close to the electronic product screen, or too long screen viewing time, is not the cause of myopia. In other words, there is no real direct link between a child’s vision loss and prolonged eye-taking on electronics.
Authorities such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology, AAO and the American Opto Society also point out that the use of electronic products is not the cause of vision loss. The American Academy of Ophthalmology is more blunt: using electronic screens does not in itself harm eye vision.
In other words, there is no authoritative and conclusive scientific evidence to prove that watching electronic products such as mobile phones can directly damage the vision of adolescents and children.
The main thing that harms the eyes is to stare at an object for a long time, without adjusting the line of sight from far away, less winking, and prone to visual fatigue.
Therefore, parents should be careful about the frequency and duration of their children’s exposure to electronic products, and here is a credible method of preventing myopia – the “20-20-20” principle, which means that “every 20 minutes to turn their gaze at a distance of at least 20 feet (about 6 meters) at least 20 seconds.”
Does electronics affect brain development?
Although long-term electronics may not necessarily lead to myopia, it does harm children, one of the most important things is to change the normal structure of the brain.
In November, researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center published a paper in the leading pediatric journal JAMA Pediatrics that showed a linear relationship between the use of electronic time in preschoolers and the level of white matter development in the brain.
For the study, researchers performed magnetic resonance (MRI) imaging scans of the brains of 47 healthy children between the ages of 3 and 5. It was found that the more time children spent using electronic screens than recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines (1h), the lower their white matter neurofibre development levels and the less structurally complete they were.
The longer electronics are used, the lower the anisotropy fraction (FA) of the brain’s white matter fibers and the higher the radial diffusion coefficient (RD). These indicators reflect abnormallevels in the development of white fibers (color represents numerical size, the smaller the blueer the FA value, the redder the rd value is larger)
White-quality neurofiber is a key structure that affects children’s language learning, literacy and cognitive level. Previously, scientists have also found that staring at an electronic screen for long periods of time can cause abnormal structures in children’s brains.
The results showed that the length of watching electronic screens such as mobile phones was inversely proportional to the development of children’s reaction speed, vocabulary, and reading and writing ability. The longer you look, the lower the competency score.
For example, a 4,500-sample study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that children of 9 or 10 who spent more than seven hours a day watching electronic screens showed signs of premature thinning of the cerebral cortex and scored poorly on language and reasoning tests. The cerebral cortex, on the other hand, is the outermost layer in which humans process sensory information.
While current research has yet to further prove how these changes in brain structure will have a negative impact on children in the future, one thing is certain – playing with electronic skids such as mobile phones and tablets for long periods of time does lead to abnormal brain development.
Will mobile phones cause children to lag behind in multiple abilities?
Indulging in electronic products can also have a lot of visible effects on children.
A University of Calgary study of 2,441 mothers and children in early development assessed the relationship between the length of time these children stared at electronic screens and the development of behavioral abilities through developmental screening. The development screening test, short for ASQ-3, includes five aspects, such as communication, big sports, fine exercise, problem solving ability, personal socializing, etc.
It was found that the length of time those children looked at electronic products such as mobile phones at 24 and 36 months was negatively correlated with the performance of developmental screening tests at 36 and 60 months.
A model of the vertical association between the use of time by electronic products such as mobile phones and the developmental outcomes of children. The results showed a negative correlation between the two, with children who used electronic products frequently performing poorly on developmental screening tests.
Among them, the content of development screening test includes: communication, personal social, big sports, hand-eye coordination, problem solving ability and so on. In other words, the longer your child’s electronics are used, the worse these aspects perform. This proves from one side that too much electronics can delay the development of children’s language, sports, social skills, etc.
In addition, a 2016 study by San Diego State University tracked 40,337 children ages 2-17 across the United States.
It was found that the longer a child looked at the screen for an hour after using a mobile phone, the lower the mental health level, reduced curiosity, reduced self-control, distraction, more difficult interaction with friends, decreased emotional stability, difficulty in caring, unable to complete tasks, and a greater risk of suffering from anxiety or depression.
Children of different ages who look at the diagram between the length of the electronic screen and the diagnosis of anxiety disorder or depression can see that as the time spent watching the electronic screen increases, so does the probability of developing anxiety or depression.
Children between 2 and 5 years of age, looking at the electronic screen time and the percentage of frequent mood loss, can see that although there are fluctuations, but overall, as the amount of time to watch the electronic screen increases, the percentage of children who often lose their temper son or can’t calm down when excited or injured is on the increasing trend.
A recent study by the Swiss Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of 700 adolescents aged 12 to 17 found that radio frequency electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones, when exposed to adolescents, can adversely affect the development of memory performance in specific brain regions.
It can be seen that the long-term use of electronic products such as mobile phones will indeed have a negative impact on children’s cognition, emotional intelligence, mental state and physical and mental abilities.
Does playing with electronic products affect academic performance?
So, the use of electronic products, will not affect the child’s academic performance? There is indeed research to prove this.
In 2018, researchers at Rutgers University conducted an experiment. They randomly divided 118 students into two groups, one allowing electronics such as mobile phones and tablets to be used in non-academic purposes in the classroom and the other banned.
It was found that students performed poorly on final exams if they were allowed to use electronic devices such as mobile phones for non-academic purposes. At the same time, in classroom teaching where these devices are allowed, test scores are equally low, even if the child personally chooses not to use them.
This shows that the use of electronic devices such as mobile phones can disrupt the learning atmosphere, distracting children, and ultimately affect ingenuity.
In 2015, a study by Louis Philippe Beland and others at the London School of Economics and Political Science reached a similar conclusion.
They looked at the association between mobile phones and test scores in 91 schools in four UK cities, including London, Birmingham, Manchester and Lanchester. The results showed that a ban on the use of mobile phones in schools can improve children’s academic performance by an average of 6.4%, with poor students improving by more than 14%.
Therefore, “mobile phones and other electronic products play too much when it is not related to school, children will play with things to lose their mind”, this sentence really makes sense.
Mobile phones and other electronic products, really like a flood beast?
It is worth mentioning that playing mobile phones and other electronic products, the child’s favorable evidence, but is currently limited.
One of the few, tim Smith, a cognitive psychologist, in the BBC documentary The Wonder World of The North, says that by analysing sample data from 715 British infants and young children, he has found that children who regularly use touch-screen products such as tablets perform better in fine movements such as stacking wood and drawing straight lines.
However, this conclusion is contrary to the conclusions of the previous study by Sheri Madigan and others in Canada, so the truth still needs to be further explored.
So, while there is persistent evidence that excessive use of electronic devices such as mobile phones can harm children, does that mean treating them as flood beasts and keeping children away altogether?
The answer is no.
There is a saying in the medical profession: “Dosage aside, everything is hooliganism.” “Similarly, it doesn’t make sense to talk about the harm they do to children by talking about the time they spend playing electronics and the age of their children.
Moreover, in today’s increasingly developed technology, the role of electronic products is becoming more and more important, children grow up in the process, there is its shadow everywhere.
Therefore, it is more important to treat it with the right attitude than to prevent children from touching them. Share the American Academy of Pediatrics’ advice on electronic sushers such as children’s mobile phones:
One-and-a-half years ago, do not use any electronic products except video calls;
One-and-a-half to two years old, parents can choose some high-quality content to watch with their children, do not let their children use electronic products alone;
Two to five years old, do not spend more than an hour on the screen each day, and parents and children are advised to discuss what they can watch and share.
After the child is older, parents can work with the child to develop a time to play electronic products, and strictly enforce.
In short, master the time, grasp the degree, mobile phones, tablets and other electronic products are still a good helper on the way to children’s growth.