(CNN) Screen time use by infants, toddlers and preschoolers has exploded over the last decade, concerning experts about the impact of television, tablets and smartphones on these critical years of rapid brain development.
Now a new study scanned the brains of children 3 to 5 years old and found those who used screens more than the recommended one hour a day without parental involvement had lower levels of development in the brain's white matter -- an area key to the development of language, literacy and cognitive skills.
"This is the first study to document associations between higher screen use and lower measures of brain structure and skills in preschool-aged kids," said lead author Dr. John Hutton, a pediatrician and clinical researcher at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. The study was published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
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