Parents today have a challenge that their parents didn’t have to deal with, getting kids away from screens. Sure television has been around for many decades, but in the early days of TV the family would gather around the tube for a specific program and most parents put limits on the amount of TV their kids actually watched.
Today cell phones and tablets are the biggest culprits, but kids also spend a lot of time using computers and still watch a lot of TV. In fact, kids from eight to 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours per day in front of a screen for entertainment, with over half of that time being spent watching movies or TV shows.
While there are some benefits to being in front of a screen for short periods of time, there are also many drawbacks. Children who spend too much time in front of a TV or other screens have a higher risk of becoming obese. They are also more likely to display aggressive behavior and have been shown to have a harder time at school and have less energy than those with limited screen time.
As a parent limiting the amount of time your children spend in front of screens is very important. Here are a few things you can do to help cut down on how much time they spend doing these activities:
- Set a Good Example – If kids see their parents on their phones all the time or always sitting in front of the TV or on an iPad, they will most likely follow suit.
- Set a Schedule – Allow your children to choose a couple of their favorite TV shows as long as their homework and chores are finished. Give them certain times they can use their phones or the computer and make sure all technology is turned off well before bedtime.
- Turn off the TV during meal times and have a conversation.
- Don’t allow TVs in bedrooms and collect cell phones and tablets at bedtime.
- Monitor what your kids are watching and who they are talking to.
Reducing the amount of time your children spend in front of screens can improve their overall health. If your kids have shown any signs of anxiety, behavioral problems or depression schedule an appointment with Portland Pediatric Group at 585-342-5665.