Screen time and children: Negative effects of spending too much time on devices

According to the Centers for Disease Control, kids spend up to 7.5 hours a day looking at screens.
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 8:04 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - According to the Centers for Disease Control, kids spend up to 7.5 hours a day looking at screens.

All those hours playing games and scrolling the internet can have several negative effects. The impacts include sleep problems, lower grades in school, weight problems, mood problems, poor self-image, and body image issues. In children under two, it can cause developmental delays such as communication skills and fine motor skills.

“For children younger than 18 months, we really need to avoid the use of screen time other than video-chatting because it is that interactive component with that language piece of their development,” said CoxHealth Child Specialist Kayleigh Stark. “Parents of children from 18 to 24 months if they’re introducing screen time we need to make sure that it’s high-quality programming. That it’s not being utilized as just a distraction component, but it’s engaging and it’s interactive. It’s providing the stimulation that their mind needs.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests until a child is 18 months old, limit screen use to video chatting along with an adult. Between 18 and 24 months, screen time should be limited to watching educational programming with a caregiver. For children 2-5, limit non-educational screen time to about 1 hour per weekday and 3 hours on the weekend days. For ages 6 and older, encourage healthy habits and limit activities that include screens.

“The younger a child is introduced to screen time, the more linked it can be with behaviors such as ADHD, OCD, and different compliant disorders,” said Stark. “Negative consequences can result with you know, impulsive behavior, compulsiveness, being unregulated negative outcomes really affects kids in their social development or emotional development and a way of formulating bonds with peers as well as with their family. "

Spending time on devices is not all bad. Several apps have educational value. Parents need to play an active role in screen time to help their children grow and develop. Experts also recommend for every one hour of screen time, children have one hour of interactive playtime.

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