Playing outdoor can compensate for harm from excessive smartphone and computer use, according to Osaka University.
Researchers followed 885 children between the ages of 18 months and 4 years. They looked at the relationship between three key characteristics: average amount of screen time per day at age two, amount of outdoor play at age 2 years 8 months, and level of nervous system development at age 4.
Although both communication and daily living skills were worse in 4-year-olds who spent more time in front of a screen at age 2, outdoor play time had different effects on the negative effects of smartphone use, explains Osaka University professor Kenji Tsuchiya.
Specifically, nearly one-fifth of the effect of screen time on everyday life skills was offset by outdoor games, and more time of such games is likely to amplify the effect. In all, scientists estimate that active play can reduce this harm by 20 percent. In addition (though this fact is unrelated to smartphones), socialization was better in 4-year-olds who spent more time playing outside at age 2 years 8 months.
Follow NEWS.am Medicine on Facebook and Twitter