Huge new study will track effects of screen time on kids’ brains

Photo via MaxPixel (Public Domain)

Article by Katherine Martinko, via TreeHugger

Already the National Institutes of Health has found “significant differences” in the brains of children who spend excessive time online.

Anywhere you go, you will see children and teens with tablets or smartphones in their hands. Riding in cars, sitting at restaurant tables, lounging beside a pool, or hanging out with friends at the park, kids and screens have become inseparable. For those of us who grew up without handheld devices always within reach and have memories of carefree, unplugged childhoods, this connection can feel alarming. One can’t help wondering, is it OK for kids to be so attached to their devices?

This question is just one of many that the National Institutes of Health hopes to answer over the next decade. It has launched a huge, first-of-its-kind study that will follow 11,000 American children at 21 sites across the country, trying to discover how screen time affects the physical structure of kids’ brains, as well as their emotional development and mental health.

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