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026 - Limiting Screen Time

posted Nov 20, 2015, 1:04 PM by Doug Muha

Counselor Notes 26

October 13, 2014

Limiting Screen Time

 

In the last issue of Counselor Notes, I addressed the issue of insuring children get enough sleep.  In this issue I want to take a look at how much time children are spending watching t.v. / movies or playing video games. 

Nationally, children 6 through 11 years old spend about 28 hours a week sitting in front of the t.v. screen watching t.v. or playing video games.  Children with a t.v. in their room watch about an hour and a half more t.v. per day than those without.  http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/tv.htm

This high level of viewing is a problem for children at Waverly Elementary School.  In a recent survey of third graders, 42% reported that the preceding day, they could watch as much t.v. as they wanted.  A full 40% reported that they could spend as much time playing video games as they wanted.  A full 80% of them reported they had a t.v. in their bedroom.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/managing-media-we-need-a-plan.aspx notes that:

Excessive media use has been associated with obesity, lack of sleep, school problems, aggression and other behavior issues. A recent study shows that the average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly 8 hours a day with different media, and older children and teens spend more than 11 hours per day. Kids who have a TV in their bedroom spend more time with media. About 75 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds own cell phones, and nearly all teenagers use text messaging. 

The AAP recommends:

Limit entertainment screen time to less than one or two hours per day; in children under 2, discourage screen media exposure

In line with the AAP recommendations, I am asking parents to:

Limit your child to no more than 2 hours of screen time per day. 

There is a lot of information on the internet supporting the limiting of screen time.  Parents who want to read more should check out:

·       http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000355.htm

·       http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/childrens-health/in-depth/children-and-tv/art-20047952

·       http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19560-too-much-screen-time-is-bad-for-active-kids-too.html

·       http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201404/does-too-much-screen-time-make-kids-sick

If the research is wrong and you unnecessarily limit your child’s screen time, how much are they really missing out on?  There is potentially much to be gained and little (if anything) to be lost by limiting screen time.  I am asking parents to be the parents and limit the amount of time you allow your child to stare at a screen each day.  

Doug Muha Ed.S.
School Counselor
Waverly Elementary School

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