Children who spend hours staring into the screens of iPads or other devices show signs that their brains are changing – with the brain cortex thinning prematurely.
Children who spend seven hours a day on screens show thinning of the brain cortex, the outermost layer of neural tissue.
It’s a key area for perception skills and cognitive abilities – and usually only thins as people get old.
The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study found that children who used screens for two hours per day score lower on cognitive tests.
The researchers scanned the brains of 4,500 children, and are tracking 11,000 youngsters over the course of a decade.
Dr Gaya Dowling of America’s National Institute of Health said, ‘We don’t know if it’s being caused by the screen time. We don’t know if it’s a bad thing.
‘What we can say is that this is what the brains look like of kids who spend a lot of time on screens. And it’s not just one pattern’.