Study finds link between screen time and lower brain development in children

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Screens follow us everywhere, from our phones, to our tablets to television but too much time in front of a screen may diminish brain development for young kids, especially their language and literacy skills.

Apps for toddlers on iPhone.

The study published this month in JAMA Pediatrics scanned the brains of kids three to five years old and found those who used screens more than one hour a day without parent involvement had lower levels of development in the brain's white matter, the area responsible for language, literacy, and cognitive skills.

A pediatrician from Black Hills Pediatrics said there are no benefits to screen time for kids under two years old.

"Most of the apps they recommend for little kids or I shouldn't say they recommend but the ones that they feel are least problematic are ones that actually involve two people, where the parent and the child are working on the app together so that there's interaction with an actual 3D living, breathing, person who is with the child and they can talk about what they're seeing on the application," said Greg Anderson, pediatrician for Black Hills Pediatrics.

Anderson said screen time should be an interactive experience between parents and kids, not a parenting tool.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids under 18 months only use screens for video chatting, and for kids two to five, only one hour of screen time a day.

However, the findings from this new study could warrant changes in future screen time recommendations.