Before you give the OK for your kids to turn on the television, take note: A recent study conducted by Iowa State University shows that children who watched TV or played video games for more than two hours per day were more likely to have attention problems in school. Screen habits are already being blamed for childhood obesity. Has the time has come to make a change? Could YOUR kids be screen-free for the rest of the summer?
ISU's study followed 1323 students in middle childhood over a 13 month period. Parents and children reported television and video game usage while teachers reported attention problems. The results concluded that children with heavy screen time habits were twice as likely to have attention problems in school.
It's well known that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children have no more than two hours of screen time per day. Is that still too much? Not necessarily. An important factor is knowing what your kids are watching or what video games they are playing. Content plays a role in the development of attention problems. Games that force players to make quick decisions and shows that are fast paced may overstimulate children.
Given this information, could your family go screen-free? If you're going to attempt to go screen-free, summer certainly seems like the ideal time to try. After all, the options for how to spend free time in the summer are endless. Of course, families can also vouch for short-term benefits of screen time. It's down-time for kids, just like for us adults who look forward to a few minutes of internet time to get the latest news, catch up on Facebook, or watch a show you missed on TV.
If you're game, sit down with your family for a meeting and issue the challenge. Work together to create a list of activities, such as playing with friends, riding bikes, or reading, to give family members choices when the urge to turn on the TV or computer game creeps up.
Tell us: Would you consider having your kids go screen-free this summer? Or do you think all this fuss about too much TV is overhyped? We'd love to know where you stand on the issue!
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