CUT THE Connection
Too much screen time can harm adolescents
Ten years ago, could you have imagined seeing a toddler swiping an iPad or an elementary school student tucking a smart phone in his backpack? These days, such devices have become mainstream necessities for even the youngest children. And while the dangers of screen time on eyesight date back almost to the advent of television, doctors and researchers are increasingly identifying a host of screen time-related threats to adolescents’ physical and emotional health.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), older children and teens currently spend more than 11 hours per day focused on some form of media, a fact that led the organization to establish new guidelines in 2013. Among them, “screen-free” bedrooms for children, turning off the TV during meals and a maximum of two hours of higher-quality “entertainment” media per day, as well as lots of time for old fashioned outdoor play and reading.
In 2011, the AAP issued a policy statement recommending no screen time, including television, for infants and children younger than 2, noting rapid early brain development and the importance of human interaction.