Screen Time For Kids: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

As families, we may have kids that are engaging in a lot of screen time. It may be difficult to know how best to handle it and to sort through all of the “junk” that our kids may be exposed to. I mean, I know as a parent that it’s something new, even for me, since I didn’t get my first cell phone until I was in college. Now, kids are getting tablets and phones at younger and younger ages. So, how do you handle that? Thus, I decided to interview Renee, a parenting blogger over at Golden Slumber Photos. She’s a mom of three and has great insight on many parenting topics!

1. What trends are occurring in screen time use among kids and teens?

It’s no surprise that the majority of parents are concerned with the amount of screen time their child is getting. In a recent survey, 71% of parents of a 12 and under say they are at least somewhat concerned their child might be spending too much time in front of screens

https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2020/07/28/parenting-children-in-the-age-of-screens/

Recent life changes (such as the pandemic) have no doubt made limiting screen time even more challenging for parents.

2. What’s the recommended age to allow any screen time? What limits should be placed on screen time according to age?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides some very clear recommendations on screen time limits for kids: https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Pages/Media-and-Children.aspx

Some of their recommendations include:

Toddlers: focus on physical playtime for babies and toddlers and only use educational media with young children 18 months and older.

Ages 2 and 5: screen time should not exceed one hour per day and needs to involve the parent who can help their child learn from educational programs.

3. Are there benefits to screen time? What are the negative consequences of too much screen time?

Some screen time can be okay. It can keep us socially connected (especially during times of isolation). Also, educational apps are available to help kids learn.
On the other hand, studies have found that too much screen time can lead to negative impacts on your child’s sleep, physical activity levels, and even cognition.

4. How do you suggest placing limits on screen time? How can you avoid screen time addiction?

In this article, I offer a 7 step method to helping kids avoid screen addiction. One tip is to keep the technology devices out of sight when the children are not supposed to be using it.

https://goldenslumbersphotos.com/2019/09/13/the-7-step-method-to-save-your-kids-from-screen-addiction/

5. How do you know if your child has an addiction and needs help? If there is an addiction, what should be done?

There are signs of screen time overuse. Does your child seem easily irritable or is losing interest in engaging in non-screen activities they usually enjoy? If your child is addicted to screen time, you can try a detox (“cold-turkey” method) or set strict limits for your child to reduce usage.

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Written by Tamra Cater

I am married, and I also have a 4-year-old daughter. I earned my Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi, and I have been teaching psychology classes over the past 10 years. As a professor and as a parent, I grew to love learning anything about child development. I recently turned that into a passion for helping other parents by starting my own blog at http://www.nurturingtamra.com.

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