The amount of time children spend in front of electronic devices is rapidly rising. There is a lot of debate about how this affects their health and whether it has a positive or negative effect on their cognitive abilities. This study was undertaken by researchers from the Karolinska Institutet and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam to look into the link between the usage of electronic screens and IQ reduction over time.
The study included over 9,000 young people from the United States. Between the ages of nine and ten, the children were given a battery of psychological tests to assess their general cognitive abilities. The outcomes of these tests were documented (intelligence). Parents and children were also asked how much time they spent watching television and videos, playing video games, and using social media.
Video games, 2 year follow up.
A little more than 5,000 children were given a second chance to complete the psychological assessments after a two-year interval. As a result, the researchers were able to look at how the children’s exam performance changed from one test to the next while controlling for individual differences in the first test. They also considered genetic differences that could influence intelligence, as well as other factors such as the parents’ educational and financial status.
On average, the children watched 2.5 hours of television per day, spent 30 minutes on social media, and spent 1 hour playing computer games. Participants’ intelligence increased by approximately 2.5 points between the first and second tests if they played games for longer periods of time than usual, according to the findings. Watching television or using social media had no discernible positive or negative impact.
The researchers didn’t look at the effects of screen time on physical activity, sleep, happiness, or academic achievement, according to Torkel Klingberg, a cognitive neuroscience professor at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Neuroscience. The findings, on the other hand, back up the idea that electronic media exposure does not always have a negative impact on children’s cognitive abilities, and that activities like playing video games can actually help to improve intelligence. This is in line with the results of a number of well-designed studies on the effects of video game play.
Intelligence levels fluctuate over time.
According to recent research, intelligence is a quality that can change depending on the circumstances, rather than a fixed trait.
The research team will now look at the cognitive consequences of other environmental variables in relation to childhood brain development, according to Torkel Klingberg.
The findings cannot be applied to children in other countries with different gaming habits because the study was only conducted on children in the United States and did not differentiate between different types of video games. There was also a risk of inaccurate reporting because participants were asked to rate their own screen time and habits.
The work was made possible by funding from the Swedish Research Council and the Karolinska Institutet’s Strategic Research Area Neuroscience (StratNeuro). The researchers have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest.
Story Source: Original release written by Matt A. Field & J. William O. Ballard at The Conversation. Note: Content may be edited for style and length by Scible News.
Sauce, B., Liebherr, M., Judd, N., & Klingberg, T. (2022). The impact of digital media on children’s intelligence while controlling for genetic differences in cognition and socioeconomic background. Scientific reports, 12(1), 7720. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-11341-2