Drawing Digital Boundaries: Doing it the right way - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Drawing Digital Boundaries: Doing it the right way

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Technology is everywhere, but too much of a good thing can be detrimental. It's important for all of us to find a healthy balance especially when it comes to children.

Even before most babies can walk, they are fascinated by technology. Most know how to operate tablets and smartphones. While we think that means they're smart, The American Academy of Pediatrics warns infants and children under the age of two should avoid them- including TV.

Experts like Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician Dr. Doris Greenberg agree and say children learn best at that age by interacting with their parents.

Dr. Greenberg has seen cases where children who are glued to technology start behaving like children who are autistic.

"How do you learn to smile back at another person? You do it because your mother smiled at you. You got some gratification from that and you assimilated that behavior. If you never see that, you're not going to learn that," Dr. Greenberg, Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends no more than two hours per day with electronics for children older than two- and that includes teenagers.

"I love to play with the tablet because it's so sweet. So, I can play on it because it has my games on it," said 3-year-old Riley Park.

Riley and his three brothers got their tablets for Christmas, but it quickly turned into a nightmare for their parents.

"It started cutting into school. It started cutting into homework. It started cutting into their chores," explained their mother, Becky Park.

It also cut in to their sleep. The boys were staying up all night.

"If it wasn't for progress reports, we would get report cards with F's, but once the progress reports started coming out and you see a 75 and a grade that should've been a 95, you start asking 'what happened here.' And, he would go, 'I forgot to do my homework.' I knew he didn't forget," said their father William Park.

"So we had to put a time limit on them. They're allowed to play on them an hour after homework. If they choose to only play for 30 minutes, then they can bank the other 30 minutes, but by 9 o'clock at night, they have to be in our room and put up for the night. They can't have them until they get home from school and homework is done," added Becky.

Hard to believe, but the boys are happy with the new rules.

"You don't want children on the tablets 24-7 because it can be straining on the eyes and your head. It causes headaches. It makes sense to put hours and limits," said 16-year-old Tyler Park.

"I get rest more and I am better in school," added 10-year-old Christopher Park .

This family has seemed to have figured it out. Dr. Greenberg also advises all parents to be what she calls suspicious and monitor what your children are doing on all electronics. Make sure you check the history on their computers, tablets and smartphones.

She saidyou'll be surprised where your children are going online. Be sure to limit computer use to common rooms in your home. No child, even teenagers, should be allowed to have computers in their own rooms where you cannot monitor their activity.

If you'd like to know how to protect your entire family when you search the internet, Speros is launching a new service called Constant Secure for home owners for the Internet. For more information, call Speros at 912-354-8900.

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