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Screening your child’s Screen Time

There was a report on the news today regarding televisions and children. The story highlights that over 50% of children and 30% of babies under the age of one year have televisions in their rooms. According to a News Release from the American Academy of Pediatrics, 90 percent of parents said their children under the age of two watches, some form of electronic media. These are astounding numbers! It is very important to understand that the amount of screen time (the amount of time a child watches TV or plays on the computer) is directly linked to a decrease in the amount of time a child reads and may be linked to an increase in a child’s body mass index. If a television is used to help a child fall asleep, the child will typically have poorer quality of sleep and irregular sleep schedules. Poor sleep habits adversely affect the child’s mood, behavior and learning. For teenage children, TV’s in the bedroom also decrease family involvement at a time when they may need it most. Teenagers who are depressed or have social issues at school may hide in their rooms and use TV as an excuse to stay there, when talking and being with the family is more therapeutic.

If you don’t have a television in your child’s room, then please consider keeping this the status quo. If you already have a television in the child’s bedroom, then consider taking it out. This will improve study habits, healthy eating habits, sleep habits and family time.

For more information visit: http://www.aap.org/pressroom/mediaunder2.pdf

Katrina Hood, M.D.

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