Kelli Shidler, M.D.
As a country filled with "movers and shakers," we value multitasking, quick information and "the next big thing." So it isn't surprising that various forms of screen technology have gradually become an integral part of our daily lives, soaking up more and more of our day with each new product.
This technology takeover raises questions pertaining to how much TV children should watch, what media platforms are appropriate for kids and how parents can maintain screen time limits.
Screen time is the amount of time a person spends in front of a screen. Seems simple enough, but as technology has advanced, the concept has become much more complicated. Whereas screen time used to just be the time spent watching TV, now it includes time using:
In October 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued updated recommendations for media limitations.
To ensure that the content being viewed is safe, parents are encouraged to put computers and televisions in a public room and participate in the screen time with their children when possible.
Excessive screen time has been linked to:
At first, parents may think limiting screen time is a fairly simple task, but take a few days to monitor exactly how much time your family actually spends in front of a screen and you might be surprised. Remember, screen time includes watching TV shows and movies, playing Xbox or Nintendo DS, responding to texts, looking at Twitter on your smart phone, booking flights, etc.
So how do you limit something that has permeated your life so thoroughly?
Though it can often be villainized because of its connections to violence and health problems, screen time isn't all bad. In fact, if used properly it can be beneficial, improving education and communication opportunities.