Limiting children’s recreational screen use has been linked with improved cognition.
Scientists discovered a clear link between reduced recreational use and better thinking skills.
They said the extra rest from screens aided brain function and additional outdoors activity also improved the children’s physical health.
Just one in 20 children in the study met the full daily guidelines of nine to 11 hours of sleep, one hour of physical activity and limited screen time.
But the team claims following these guidelines in childhood, particularly for screen time, is key for mental development. The more individual recommendations the child met, the better his or her brain skills.
Meeting the targets for smartphone use was linked to the biggest impact.
The Canadian study of 4,520 children aged eight to 11 found that US kids spent an average of 3.6 hours a day in recreational screen use.
Author Dr Jeremy Walsh, of CHEO Research Institute, Ottawa, said: “Evidence suggests good sleep and physical activity are associated with improved academic performance, while physical activity is also linked to better reaction time, attention, memory, and inhibition.
“The link between sedentary behaviours, like recreational screen time, is unclear as this research is in the early stages and it appears to vary depending on the types of screen-based activity.”