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New Report: How Screen Time Can Negatively Effect Cognitive Development

Photo by Markus Winkler via Unsplash

New Report: How Screen Time Can Negatively Effect Cognitive Development

By Movieguide® Staff

A new study conducted by JAMA Pediatrics discovered that the amount of time children spend in front of screens directly correlates to their emotional state of being.

While TV, smartphones, and tablets are prevalent in nearly every household, Dr. Jenny Radesky said that more screen time could mean a bigger meltdown.

“Even slightly increasing a child’s emotional reactivity, that just means it’s more likely when one of those daily frustrations comes up, you’re more likely to get a bigger reaction,” Radesky, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician, said.

However, children are not to blame. The study looked at over 400 parents’ responses to discover how often they rely on screens as a distraction for their 3 to 5-year-olds.

The study then looked at the children’s behavior over a six month period. The study found that more use of screens to distract children during tantrums leads to increased emotional dysregulation.

“When you see your 3- to 5-year-old having a tough emotional moment, meaning they are screaming and crying about something, they’re getting frustrated, they might be hitting or kicking or lying on the floor. … If your go-to strategy is to distract them or get them to be quiet by using media, then this study suggests that is not helping them in the long term,” Radesky said.

Not only does using screens as a crutch never teach children how to respond to their emotions, it also can reinforce poor expressions of that emotion, Radesky added.

“I’m just going to show big emotions so we can stop what we’re doing, and I can escape this demand,” she explained.

Dr. Joyce Harrison, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, added: “There is no substitute for adult interaction, modeling and teaching.”

The cognitive development study aligns with recent findings from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the World Health Organization, as findings from Movieguide® Founder and Publisher Dr. Ted Baehr.

In Dr. Baehr’s book ‘The Culture-Wise Family’ he writes:

Many children become obsessed with electronic devices – be it video games or social media. Some wind up in doctor’s offices being prescribed dangerous medications to deal with soul problems. Suicide is the result of a massive bout of soul sickness.

In 2014, a young man named Elliot Rodger killed six people, injured 14 others and then killed himself, because his soul was cancerous. He was angry that girls didn’t want to fornicate with him even though he considered himself attractive. He concluded he had been cheated in life and that only murderous revenge would satisfy his angry soul.

Happily, such tragedies are rare, but everyone experiences ups and downs in their soul’s health. Frustration, anger, stress, and depression are like your soul having a cold or flu. Long-term soul sickness can make a person very undesirable.

Those with a happy soul are more pleasant, but many people seek happiness by traveling down paths that lead to great unhappiness. Many people seek happiness in ways the media presents as attractive when in reality they’re not. There are a lot of movies and songs that feature angry youth spouting vulgarity. When done in real life, it’s been known to result in violence.

Let’s take just one simple example. If your soul is filled with bitterness, your body gets filled with destructive hormones. You’re looking for opportunities to get revenge – possibly even with violence.

True happiness, however, comes from within you. It comes from knowing God and walking with God. This cure starts with repentance, faith and forgiveness (see Mark 1:15). Apply this cure to your soul, and the body’s hormones change. The lust for revenge goes away. You can live in peace. Ultimately, the happiness that comes from knowing God is a moral imperative from God. As Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.


4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.