Health Matters

Tune in to Kids’ Screen Time

Maybe your kids have figured out that too much TV won’t actually make their eyes turn square.
But with cellphones and handheld devices joining the ranks of the usual screen time suspects—television, computers, and video games—parents need to remain vigilant about their children’s electronic media use.
mom and daughter watching TV
Excessive screen time can lead to a myriad of issues, such as attention problems, difficulties in school, sleep disorders, and obesity. And if mom or dad isn’t paying close attention, the effects can worsen.
A new study from the Oregon Social Learning Center showed that children whose media use was not monitored by their parents gained more weight than children whose parents were paying closer attention. The study tracked 213 children over four years.
But there are several recommendations from the American Association of Pediatrics that can help curb a child’s screen time, says UR Medicine pediatrician Dr. Stephen Cook.
  • Limit your children to one to two hours of electronic media per day. This includes television, computers, video games, cellphones, and other electronic devices. Infants and toddlers should not have any screen time at all.
  • Create a few “screen-free zones” around the house. These areas, where television, computer, and cellphone use is not allowed, can include the dinner table and a child’s bedroom.
  • Encourage children to spend time playing outside, reading, and using their imaginations. 
  • When they are using electronic media, monitor the content. Children should be watching high-quality, educational, nonviolent programming.
Stephen Cook, MD
Stephen Cook, M.D., M.P.H., is an associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the Center for Community Health.  He sees patients as part of the general pediatric practice at UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Lori Barrette | 3/24/2014 | 0 comments


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Welcome to Health Matters, a blog aimed at keeping you and your family healthy. We offer advice from URMC experts on timely topics, as well as insight into breaking news and medical research. Visit us weekly for updates and invite your family and friends to check us out. If you have a topic you’d like to see us cover, please send a note to Lori Barrette.


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