ORLANDO — According to the Centers for Disease Control, kids ages eight to 18 spend an average of seven and a half hours in front of a screen each day for entertainment. That does not include the time they spend on a computer for school or when they are doing homework. Now a new study says all that recreational screen use may lead to poor decision making.
Screens are everywhere and it's getting harder for parents to limit screen time for their kids, but researchers in Canada studied 4,500 children aged eight to 11 and found that kids who engage in at least one hour a day of physical activity, no more than two hours of screen time and get nine to 11 hours of sleep were more likely to make better decisions and act less impulsively and meeting the sleep and screen time recommendations made the most difference.
So, what can parents do? First, support your child in getting the recommended nine to 11 hours of sleep per night. Also limit your child's recreational screen use to no more than two hours a day. Encourage your child to go outside and get at least one hour of physical activity each day and remove TV sets from their bedrooms.
Impulsive behavior in childhood has been linked with longer term emotional and mental health problems, such as behavioral addictions and self-harm. So, these recommendations can have long-term effects as well.