My child seems to be constantly on her phone/tablet and it seems like an unhealthy waste of time.

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My child seems to be constantly on her phone/tablet and it seems like an unhealthy waste of time. How do I reign in his/her screen time?

Asked on: 11/28/2016
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I would def agree That being on the phone is never a healthy habit. You should have them in more active activities. https://www.kidhealthsource.com/blogs/news/kids-phone-safety-more

Answered on: 05/12/2017

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There are two aspects to your concern; the “waste of time” and the impact on your kids’ health.
Productivity concern
If you are concerned about helping your child make his/her time more productive, here are a few suggestions:
• Raise their awareness about how much time their social media is consuming. In this article from the Safe, Smart Social organization, Josh Ochs shares several great tips, including teaching self-moderation, not allowing devices at the dinner table, leading by example, creating a log and setting weekday limits. All of these five suggestions help kids to be more aware of their screen viewing habits and the time they are devoting to social media.
• Write and sign a personalized contract with your child that outlines rules for using the computer and mobile devices, including what s/he can download, what s/he can post, and consequences for inappropriate use. Parent-child contracts are not uncommon and templates are easy to find online. (link to the other question’s answer which deals with this in more detail)
• If you feel that more extreme action is in order, you can use one of the many blocking applications or tools. There are numerous solutions that block apps and/or web access, and some can be installed on your router or firewall so that they apply to all devices in your home.

Health concern
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) approaches this health question saying that there is “considerable evidence” that a bedroom screen -- be it TV, phone or tablet -- “increases the risk for obesity, substance use, and exposure to sexual content.” AAP has these recommendations:
• Limit the amount of total screen time entertainment to <1 to 2 hours per day.
• Keep the TV and all Internet devices out of the child’s bedroom.
• Monitor what media children are using and accessing -- both Web sites and social media apps.
• Watch TV, movies, and videos together with your children and teenagers, and use this as a way of discussing important family values.
• Model active parenting by establishing a family home use plan for all media. As part of the plan, enforce a mealtime and bedtime “curfew” for media devices and cell phones. Establish reasonable but firm rules about cell phones, texting, Internet, and social media use.
The American Academy of Pediatrics takes these concerns very seriously, and even advises pediatricians to take a more detailed media history with children or teenagers who demonstrate aggressive behavior; are overweight or obese; use tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs; or have difficulties in school.

Sources:
• American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
• Safe, Smart, Social organization https://safesmartsocial.com/

Answered on: 12/10/2016