Parents need to monitor childrens' screen time

Parents need to monitor childrens' screen time
(Source: KAIT)

(KAIT/NBC) - Pediatricians said one of the biggest concerns from parents these days, is the amount of time they should let their kids spend in front of a screen.

Fairview Health Pediatrician Dr. Adam Foss said children under 18 months shouldn't have any screen time. It's a suggestion backed up by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Experts also said at 18 to 24 months old it's okay to start introducing screens to kids in small doses. Parents can increase that to about an hour or two of educational programming per day once a child is two to five years old.  After that, Dr. Foss said the recommendations get a bit more complicated.

"Kids are going to have to do homework on computers, that's just the way of life," said Dr. Foss.

Dr. Foss said studies now suggest it's not so much the amount of time kids are spending in front of a screen, but how kids are engaging with the content. The Academy states using a screen for school work is different that just staring at a screen.

The limits on educational use aren't much of a concern, but non-educational use should be limited to about an hour or two a day.  If children are using a screen within two hours of bedtime, he suggests turning down the brightness so they can fall asleep better.

Many children have plenty of time on their hands with summer vacation. Dr. Foss said this is the time parents should monitor closely to make sure screen time isn't overdone.

"Really limiting other things such as social media and other forms of media usually to less than one to two hours per day," said Dr. Foss.

Apple recently announced a new feature on its smartphones where users can actually monitor their screen time, in an effort to limit technology addiction.

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