Digital dilemma: How parents can manage children’s screen time

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Dr. Keith Watson from the West Point Children’s Clinic said too much screen time can be damaging.

“Excessive electronic use, staring at a screen causes fatigue, and eye strain which results in headaches. The fatigue can lead to disturbances in our sleep,” said Watson.

The CDC said kids who don’t get enough sleep “have a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, injuries, poor mental health also attention and behavior problems.”

Problems with vision, sore fingers and arms, and poor posture can all lead to physical complications resulting from excessive phone use.

“Trying to limit our time is harder than it used to be,” said Watson. “Everything’s electronic now. Computer screens were the video games after school and you could limit as a parent. You could limit your child. And the recommendations were no more than two hours a day on electronics.”

According to an article from the University of Connecticut, a 2023 study found almost 90 percent of K12 teachers use some form of technology in their classrooms.

“School is eight hours and they’re on electronic for most of school. Trying to limit them for two hours is really something you’re not going to be able to do anymore,” said Watson.

But there are alternative solutions to limit risk medical risks according to Watson.

At least every hour, you need to take a 10-15 minute break to let your fingers and your hands rest. Let your posture improve. Let your eyes rest so you don’t get headaches. Get up and get some exercise. Try to get time outdoors.

“Those are the things that we have to try to do. It’s just becoming harder to do,” said Watson.

Insomnia, poor concentration, and other symptoms from overuse of electronics can mimic other serious health conditions like ADHD.

Please see your child’s primary doctor if you notice any changes in their routines.

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