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ScreenTime and Kids: iPads, Computers, Phones – Oh My!

Screentime

By Andrea Granath, LCSW

Screens.  The world we live in today is swamped with these magical machines and we now measure screentime as part of daily living. As adults, we often have no choice but to be a part of the tech world.  We need them for work, for family scheduling, for communicating and of course for shopping! 

However, what about our children?  How does screentime effect them?

How essential is it that our kids have access to screens? Is it harmful? What can they do instead?

The average child in America today engages in 5-7 hours daily of “screen time” (T.V., computer, phone).  Albeit, some of the time is targeted for school work, but not much, the majority of time is for fun and social activity.  The research is clear that extensive screen time can be harmful and:

  • Increase risk of obesity
  • Increase risk of depression and anxiety
  • Known to increase symptoms of ADHD
  • Increase risk of disrupted sleep

What to do? Placing limits on screen time can help reduce risks while allowing the child to engage in healthier, pro-social behaviors.  Two hours per day is recommended limit for children and adolescents per the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“But I have nothing else to do!” So often this is the child response when screens are not available. Ideas?

  • Social – Invite a friend over and play a board game
  • Outdoor Play- Physical activity and outside exploration are imperative for child development
  • Independent Play – Learning to navigate play time autonomously helps children in the workforce as adults
  • Literacy – The most important piece to any childs development is reading.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/pediatricians-no-more-than-2-hour-screen-time-kids/

 

Lastly, it is most important to remember that interacting with the child is most essential! Get involved with him/her while they are playing! If you need help with setting healthy boundaries with screentime and usage, contact our office 475-221-8142.