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55: Simple Tips for Limiting Kids' Screen Time

October 23, 2019

In Point of Health episode 55, "Simple Tips for Limiting Kids' Screen Time," Dr. Mark Perry, Medical Director for BlueCross BlueShield helps us understand the implications of excessive screen time and shares simple tips for controlling technology use.

Episode Highlights

How does excessive screen time affect children? (2:16)

  •  Obesity
  •  Sleep problems
  •  Behavioral and developmental problems
  •  Loss of social skills/ relationship building
  • Violence

What affect does technology have on our social skills? (4:25)

Technology enables us to stay connected; but our bodies are not meant to be connected at all times and we need some down time from being connected. Although we use technology to stay connected, our time spent using technology is a solo endeavor, and that time spent watching a YouTube video or scrolling through social media could be spent outside playing a sport.

Are there any benefits to allowing children to use technology? (5:26)

There are good and bad reasons behind having children use technology. In classrooms, children have smartboards and iPads used to enhance learning and academic performance. Technology is everywhere, and it is becoming essential to learn technology and adapt to a new technological age.

What are the guidelines to maintaining balance in children's technology use?(7:00)

The American Academy of Pediatrics long recommended that kids under two not be exposed to screens at all and that older kids' time be limited to two hours a day or less. But the organization has updated its advice to reflect the widespread use of media now:

  • Up to 18 months: Video chatting only
  • 18 to 24 months old: High-quality programming that babies and parents view together
  • 2 to 5 years old: No more than one hour a day of high-quality programming, viewed together
  • 6 and older: place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.

Why should parents pay close attention to the amount of time they spend on ther devices, especially around their children? (9:49)

Children model our behaviors and habits at an early age. Our relationship and habits around technology affect a child’s relationship with technology, especially given that many parents did not grow up with technology and our children now have it all around them.

Tips parents can follow to make sure screen time is balanced(12:48)

  • Work with your child to establish boundaries
  • Create technology free zones, such as your child’s bedroom or the kitchen table
  • Set aside time to unplug as a family
  • Make screen time a privilege

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