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All about Screen Time – TV, Internet, Video games

Your doctor may have told you to limit your child’s screen time. You may wonder what they mean or why would it be a concern? Too much screen time (time spent with media) can lead to problems in school, sleep problems, aggression, and obesity. Screen time includes time spent watching television, internet time, computer and video games. I will provide some tips for about your child’s screen time. The guidelines vary based on the age of the child. For instance, children two and younger should have no screen time. Their brains are developing rapidly which happens best when they are interacting with people and the world around them. School aged kids and teens can lose their ability to focus on tasks and critically think if they are always staring at their screens.

Here are some pointers:

  1. Monitor the content. Whether it is TV shows, movies, video games be sure they are age appropriate. Parents should communicate with their children what they are allowed to watch and not watch. Avoid inappropriate content such as violence, sexual content, and drug use.
  2. Monitor their activity. If you allow them to have social media accounts, monitor what they are posting. Some children do not realize some things they post could get them into trouble.
  3. Limit time spent. Limit screen time to two hours per day or less– yes, that is all. It is more important for kids of all ages to spend time on their homework, reading a book, doing hobbies, playing outdoors, and using their imaginations. Set a timer if you need to!
  4. Set boundaries. No phone at the dinner table. No phone at bedtime. No television or computer in the bedroom.
  5. Establish priorities. Family and school responsibilities always come before screen time.

Above all, keep the lines of communication open with your children of all ages — especially in the adolescent/teen years. Although they often do not agree with your rules, they want and need you to guide them and to communicate with them what is right and wrong. Ask your kids what they have been doing at school and on the internet. Ask them who they have been talking with and what they talk about. It is important to know their friends both in person and online.

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