This week is National Screen-Free Week – a week dedicated to limiting screen time for kids.
The American Academy of Pediatrics just released new recommendations for children’s screen time limits.
They say more screen time and less physical activity can lead to more distress.
“We’re now seeing studies come out that are showing the correlation between kids spending too much time on their screens and kids struggling with anxiety and depression and suicidal thoughts,” says digital addiction activist Collin Kartchner.
We asked some Local 5 parents with kids between the ages of 3-11 why screens are so prevalent in households and how they monitor their kids’ time on devices.
“I think all too often it’s too easy for us to say, ‘Oh you’re busy, you’re running around, you’re running errands, here’s a device, occupy yourself for a half an hour,'” says Luke Sampe.
“For me, it’s roughly 90 minutes to 2 hours,” says Burke Griffin. “I kind of base it on what’s the weather like outside. If the kids get home from school and it’s nice out, they don’t touch anything until after dinner.”
How much is too much?
For children five years and younger screen time should be no more than an hour.
18 months and younger shouldn’t have screen time outside of video chats.
Research shows less time on screens equals better well being.
“It is addicting for some of these kids, that once you get on them, I have to say, ‘Hey!’ to them three times before they look up from their phone or their kindle,” says Griffin. “So I try to restrict it as much as possible.”
“We do get on her a little bit and say you need to cut down on the phone just a little bit more,” says Michael Conroy. “What we try to do is make sure we plan something as a family so she’s able to do something constructive instead of just sitting there on her hands not doing anything.”
There’s no denying the technology is here and it’s going to stay.
So it’s up to parents to decide how it can benefit their child or if it won’t.
“I didn’t want to get her a tablet just so she could be a kid, but then I also feel like if I don’t get her one then I’m holding her back,” says Stacy Degrave. “Because you look at schools now and right away the kids do all their books on tablets and write on tablets so I don’t know if I like that or hate it, but I mean it is what it is and you kind of have to get on board.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics says if kids younger than two years of age have screen time it should be spent watching only high-quality programming with their parents.