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In today's age, it almost feels as if screens are unavoidable. From cell phones in the mornings, to computers at school, tablets at restaurants and TVs at home – it is so integrated into our lives. Studies have found that almost 30% of children in America play with a mobile device while they are still in diapers. For children and teenagers, media use is the leading activity of their day second only to sleeping. Additionally, a recent announcement from the World Health Organization found that compulsive video-game playing could be a mental health problem.
Evora Brent, MD, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician at NorthShore, knows that too much screen time can lead to attention problems in children, school difficulties, sleep problems and obesity. Previously, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended a limit of no more than two hours of screen time a day for children ages two and over. With screens appearing everywhere, that recommendation has become nearly impossible to follow. While our devices can be used for good, they can also be a time drain. The new recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics is that we should be mindful about the quality and type of content we consume, rather than solely focusing on how much. This mindfulness can be thought of as developing a “media diet” for your family.
Because cutting out media altogether is almost impossible in today’s world, here are suggestions from Dr. Brent on how to develop you and your family’s “media diet”:
What kind of media do you and your children consume?