Special Report: Controlling screen time for kids & teens - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Special Report: Controlling screen time for kids & teens

(Toledo News Now) -

You may not realize it, but efforts you make to limit content and time spent on media can help your kids.

A new study finds kids do better in school, sleep better and behave better when you monitor media use, instead of letting technology take over.

It's true. Today's kids are spending less time outside, and more time with devices. 

A new study in the Journal of Pediatrics says the average eight year old child spends eight hours a day on media.

A teen typically more than 11 hours of media a day and more than three-fourths of teens have cell phones

13 to 17 year olds send an average of 3,300 texts per month.

"When you think about it, they're spending more time with media devices than almost anything else, other than sleep, which is very concerning," said ProMedica Physician Jacob Maciewjewski, MD.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that disconnect increases risk for behavioral problems, poor sleep, obesity and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

"When you're in front of a screen or you're on your computer or on your cell phone, you're not spending time exercising, being active, learning, developing relationships and spending time with family," said Dr. Maciewjewski.

Further, updated guidelines from AAP say children two years and under should have zero screen time. Kids three to 18, aside from school work, should have no more than two hours per day.

"We color. We do Playdoh. We, now with the weather being nice, ride bikes," said Katy Swade, mother to Lydia, 4. "But during dinner time and stuff, that's when I usually say, 'Why don't you grab the iPad and play a game on the iPad?'"

For older children, the Parents Television Council suggests parents communicate and set content filters.

"Look for technologies that are going to help you at home. There are internet filters. You can block content before it gets into your home. You can block content at the computer level, at the tablet level. Use those filters. Use these devices and talk to your kids about this stuff," said Melissa Henson, PTC Director of Grassroots Education and Activism.

"This is part of every physical exam that we do yearly. We address issues that refer to screen time, limiting television, getting TVs out of the bedroom, setting a curfew for media devices.

There should be no media during mealtime.

It's a time to interact with your family. When lights go off, the TV, the electronics, everything should be out of the bedroom," said Dr. Maciewjewski.

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