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Too much technology use may lead to early puberty

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, kids between eight and 12 spend between four and six hours using or watching screens per day. 

Evidence shows too much technology use is tied to childhood obesity, sleep problems and depression. And now scientists say excessive screen time may lead to early puberty. 

Researchers in Turkey conducted a lab study where 3-week-old female rats were exposed to low, medium or high durations of blue light every day until they hit puberty. The ones who had the most daily exposure experienced puberty the earliest. They also had lower levels of melatonin–the hormone that affects sleep– and inflammation and cell damage in their ovaries. 

“In the coming years, as the place of mobile electronic devices in our lives will increase gradually, blue light exposure in childhood will also increase,” said study author, Dr. Aylin Kılınç Uğurlu, in an interview. “We think that the use of mobile devices, known as the inevitable blue light source, should be prevented in the childhood age group and we should limit the usage times.”

The research was presented at the 60th annual European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology Meeting.