CUT THE Con­nec­tion

Too much screen time can harm ado­les­cents

201 Health - - Kids Health - WRIT­TEN BY BROOKE PERRY

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.

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