Pediatrician Dr. Laura Edwards with Christie Clinic joined us virtually to share why we must cut back on kids’ screen time.
Pre-CDC Guidelines for screen time:
· For children under 2 years of age, screen time is not recommended except to video chat with family or friends.
· For children ages 2-5 years of age, the recommendation is to limit screen time to one hour per day of high quality programming.
· For older children, there is no hard and fast rule on how much time they should spend in front of screens but it is suggested that there be limits on screen time and that screen time not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity, face-to-face social interaction and homework.
Recommendations to help limit screen time:
Other recommendations are to avoid allowing screens in children’s bedrooms, to charge devices outside of their bedrooms, to discourage screen time within an hour of bedtime and to schedule unplugged time such as at meal time, while driving and one night a week.
The Pros/Cons of screentime:
There are benefits of screen time for children over 2 years of age including exposure to educational programs which encourages learning and for school age children enabling participation in school related work and research-especially now when children must stay home rather than attend school due to the threat of Covid-19.
· Video games have been shown to improve motor skills and coordination.
· Social media, texting and shared video games are fun ways to socialize and communicate with friends if done responsibly.
There are also downsides to screen time for children including slowing language development in younger children, hindering creative thinking by taking the place of activities such as stacking blocks, creating with clay or Play-Doh and reading.
Too much screen time encourages a sedentary lifestyle, can cause problems with sleep, and may result in less face to face interaction with others. There is also the problem with exposure to harmful content on the internet.