By: Dr. Mary Gillis, Ed.D.
Posted: / renew:
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Children ages 8 to 12 spend 4 to 6 hours a day using or watching screens, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
There is evidence that excessive use of technology is associated with childhood obesity, sleep problems and depression. And now scientists say too much screen time may lead to earlier puberty.
Researchers in Turkey conducted a laboratory study in which 3-week-old female rats were exposed to low, medium or high durations of blue light daily until they reached puberty. People with the most daily contact experience puberty first. They had lower levels of melatonin (the hormone that affects sleep) and lower ovarian inflammation and cell damage.
“Over the next few years, as mobile electronic devices become increasingly part of our lives, so will blue light exposure in childhood,” said the study’s author, Ph.D. Aylin Kılınç Uğurlu, in an interview. “We believe that the use of mobile devices, known as unavoidable sources of blue light, should be avoided in children’s age groups and we should limit the time of use.”
The study was presented earlier this month at the 60th annual meeting of the European Society of Pediatric Endocrinology.