Excess screen time affects children's brains — and not in a good way

JAMA PsychiatryScott Cunningham MD PhD, et al. | June 22, 2022



Given the increased incidence of affective disorders in children and adolescents, identification of risk factors are essential in implementing preventive measures, as are promotion of factors that enhance psychological well-being.

Increased screen time beyond recommended guidelines (< 2h/d) has a negative effect on the mental health of children.

The literature was searched between January 1960 and May 2021 for articles reporting screen times to children < 12 years of age, and internalizing (depression and anxiety) and externalizing behaviors (aggression and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder).

Eighty-nine studies involving 159,425 children were analyzed. Increased screen time was correlated with internalizing and externalizing behaviors. The correlation between screen time and externalizing behavior was stronger in boys than girls.