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Comment & Response
May 11, 2020

Science Has Not Proven That Screen Use Impacts Children's Brain Development—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of General and Community Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 2Reading and Literacy Discovery Center, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 3Pediatric Neuroimaging Research Consortium, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 4Educational Neuroimaging Center, Biomedical Engineering, Technion, Israel
JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174(8):805-807. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.0628

In Reply In a response to our article, “Associations Between Screen-Based Media Use and Brain White Matter Integrity in Preschool-Aged Children,”1 Pall claims that findings of lower microstructural integrity and language and literacy skills correlated with higher screen use may be attributable to electromagnetic field (EMF) exposures. As mobile digital devices linked via wireless connectivity are increasingly used by ever-younger children, this is an important public health issue. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement2 in 2016 based on research findings in rats, encouraging caution with mobile devices and that more research is needed.

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    1 Comment for this article
    Excellent Reply
    Taher Kagalwala, M.D. (Pediatrics), India | Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
    Hutton, et al have replied in a very cogent manner to both the letters raised in response to their original article published earlier this year in JAMA Pediatrics. The whole issue centres around the perceived effects of screen time PLUS the lost nurturance because of reduced interaction between the child and their family. Hutton has acknowledged this in their reply and has clearly stated that more studies are needed to understand the results their group obtained in the study that was published in JAMA Pediatrics earlier this year.

    We grew up in an "electricals" era with hardly any "electronic"
    equipment, and no digital equipment save the idiot box (TV). Even that arrived in my country only in the early seventies, when I was already a teenager - with my brain development over 95% already complete! Parents worked hard to earn a living, and when at home, gave attention to their children in good measure, but also, the children themselves played outdoors rather than sitting in the home and watching television or listening to the radio all the time. Perhaps we will never be able to bring back the old times and do a controlled study to see which method of rearing produced the smartest youth, but intelligence has existed in humans throughout the ages! It has neither been a master, nor a slave, to the various gadgets in use in any era.