Layla Wishard is an 11-year-old girl who, like many children, likes to play Minecraft and look at YouTube videos. Her mom, Emily Keller, says she makes sure Layla does other activities besides look at her phone.
“I try to limit the time she is on it. she likes to draw, so a lot of times, if I see her really buried in her phone, I’ll say Layla it’s time to put the phone away, why don’t you do some drawing or work on one of your math books or something other than being buried in a phone or iPad,” said Keller, a parent.
Keller is not alone. Parents all over the country are working to limit how much screen time their children have a day. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children are spending at least seven hours a day on entertainment media, which includes television, computers and phones.
Susan Corley, an outpatient therapist, says kids who are toddlers should have no more than one hour of parental-monitored screen time a day.
“For the kids that are school age and teenagers, you want to find a balance for them between physical activities, extra curricular activities, social things that they do and the screen time that they do,” said Corley.
Corley says research has shown when kids sit behind a screen all day they are not getting what they need for critical brain growth.
“What we’re finding out with children in specific is that it’s leading to a sedentary lifestyle. There are weight and health issues that are coming up for them. It’s affecting their social skills and their ability to relate to other kids and even want to interact with doing that,” said Corley.
While too much screen time can be detrimental, some say using technology can be a good thing, but only if used in moderation. Sue James is a children’s book author and runs her own childcare service. She understands that technology is here to stay.
“What we need to do is teach them appropriate boundaries and limits on time and place for technology and how we can use it to our advantage,” said James.
As an author, Sue understands the importance of kids reading out loud. She recommends parents to take time out of their busy schedules.
“Sitting with a child and reading makes a big difference for them because it becomes an event like a vacation or going to McDonald’s, it becomes an event in their life, and it’s very important because it gives them a bond with that adult, you can’t anywhere else,” said James.
Experts say as long as parents ensure their children have a balanced life, they should be fine.