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How to enforce screen time rules for your kids

Posted at 7:41 AM, Jun 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-14 08:41:28-04

According to a recent report, about 98% of households with children under age eight have a mobile device. While these gadgets are readily available for kids to use, studies show spending too much time on them is unhealthy.

A study by Screen Sense found kids between the ages of two and four spend nearly three hours a day looking at a screen. And the American Heart Association says that kids under 18 look at screens for over seven hours a day.

Kids like 11-year-old Lincoln Chiappone use mobile devices for many reasons. But too much screen time can be harmful.

“Sometimes, my neck really hurts from me staring at that screen for a long time,” Chiappone said.

Lincoln’s dad doesn’t allow any screen time during the school week and limits it to two hours on weekends.

“He doesn’t like it," he said. "He’s very vocal about that, but he has a good attitude about it."

Forty-two percent of kids ages eight and younger have their own tablets, and limiting use is a challenge for many parents, but not for Chiappone’s dad. He uses the app “Screen Time” to keep his son’s device activity in check.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for infants 18-months and younger. For children two to five, it’s one hour per day. For kids six and older, parents should determine restrictions and monitor use.

Guidelines also suggest families designate “media-free” times together.

“Maybe we go and run around, play,” Chiappone said.

And Lincoln gets extra phone time for finishing his chores on time.

In a study published in the Journal Developmental Psychology, third through fifth graders who had their own TV or video games in their bedrooms spent more time with media, which was associated with a reduced amount of sleep and reading. On the other hand, a large new study from England of 17 thousand teenagers found no clear cut evidence of damage to young people’s mental health.