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Doctors say screen time guidelines being ignored

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Posted at 12:15 PM, Nov 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-29 13:54:16-05

Kids have a lot of free time on their hands now that they're on holiday break, but experts say spending that time in front of the TV, or with some type of device, could have negative results.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children under the age of 18 months not have any screen time at all.

For children 2 years old to 5 years old, they say kids should be exposed slowly to about one hour of screen time a day. But doctors say that recommendation isn't being followed.

Today, children as young as a year old spend an average of 53 minutes in front of the screen, and by age three, toddlers are spending 150 minutes.

"It does have a negative impact on what we call 'executive functioning.' so organizing, memory functions, learning language," said Dr. Maricela Gulbronson, the Medical Director of the Developmental Medicine Clinic at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Screen time includes anything from television, phones or tablets. When a child does use their screen time, it's recommended the quality be educational, including face-to -face engagement with parents.

Doctors say longer screen time is also linked with higher rates of obesity, making it easy to lose track of calories while watching TV. Now, it's also causing sleep disturbance.

"I've got too many kids with poor sleep hygiene, which includes watching on a little screen their video games up until the late hours of the night," said Dr. Golbronson. "That blue light that comes off actually interferes with your melatonin release, and causes sleep problems."

Doctors also advise keeping the iPads away from the dinner table, so your child can learn how to handle social situations.

For more information on how much screen time is recommended for your child's age, go to https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/american-academy-of-pediatrics-announces-new-recommendations-for-childrens-media-use.aspx