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Doctors say limit kids' screen time

Published On: Oct 28 2013 06:25:52 PM CDT   Updated On: Oct 28 2013 06:52:18 PM CDT

Doctors 2 parents: Limit kids' tweeting, texting & keep smartphones, laptops out of bedrooms. #goodluckwiththat.


A new policy written by the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends banning televisions from children's and teens' bedrooms and limiting entertainment screen time to no more than two hours daily.

The policy statement cites a 2010 report that found U.S. children aged 8 to 18 spend an average of more than seven hours daily using some kind of entertainment media. Many kids now watch TV online and many send text messages from their bedrooms after "lights out."

The influential pediatrician group says parents need to know that unrestricted media use can have serious consequences, including violence, cyberbullying, obesity and problems sleeping.

"If they have too much screen time, they're not really socializing with the family," KRDO's medical expert, Dr. John Torres, said.  Dr. John agreed with the recommendation of removing anything with a screen out of a child's bedroom.

"That light actually messes with the melatonin production in our bodies," Dr. John said.  "One of the biggest things that can mess up sleep is a glowing screen."

High school sophomore Isabel told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that she is near her phone day and night, but hasn't noticed problems sleeping.

"I surf the web, text, try to find anything I can to keep me entertained until I'm tired," she said.  "The only time we quit watching TV is when we go to bed, but we keep the TV on so it helps us sleep."

Under the new policy, the two hours include using the Internet for entertainment, including Facebook, Twitter, TV and movies; online homework is an exception.

The policy notes that three-quarters of kids aged 12 to 17 own cellphones; nearly all teens send text messages, and many younger kids have phones giving them online access.

"Young people now spend more time with media than they do in school -- it is the leading activity for children and teenagers other than sleeping," the policy says.


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