BOSTON (CBS) — If you think screen time is universally bad for your kids, you may be wrong. According to new government research looking at the brain development of children and the effects of media, certain types may be more beneficial than others.

The NIH study looked at the media habits of 4,500 nine and 10-year olds beginning in 2015. Researchers found that social media like texting and using Instagram was associated with some positive effects, such as increased physical activity, less family conflict, and fewer sleep problems, while greater use of general media like video games, television, and the internet was associated with worse sleep patterns and more family conflict.

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It’s certainly possible that children with sleep problems and family conflict are more likely to use screen time to cope and relieve stress.

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This research doesn’t prove that the media use actually causes either positive or negative effects, but perhaps the message to parents should be that screen use isn’t necessarily all good or all bad.

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Dr. Mallika Marshall