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Too Much Screen Time?

by Joe Lawrence | January 27th, 2016 | Elementary, Entertainment
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400x400_television-remote-control“Kids today are on these electronic devices too much,” said most parents. However, few parents are doing much to change this.

The average child is behind a screen of some sort for two to three hours per day. This equates to a full year before they reach the age of seven. Admittedly, I am not one to shy away from letting the kids enjoy a show or play around on the iPad. Although, my wife and I have been limiting their time on electronic devices this past year, we still let them play.

I am a huge fan of electronic devices like the iPad, computers, video games and any other tech-based device, because we live in a technology-driven world. It is important for my kids to be familiar and comfortable with most devices as they are everywhere. Carpet cleaners, restaurants, doctors and pilots are all seen toting iPads these days, and surely our children will need to operate a similar device for whatever profession they choose. Not too mention the apps can be very educational and have all sorts of benefits.

On the other hand, I am not a fan of television. It is very hard to make an argument for a single benefit delivered by television time. This is purely entertainment. Sure there are documentaries and some educational programming; however, apps are more interactive, and books are less distractive. In fact, a study by Cambridge University in 2015 showed that for every hour of television watched, students’ standardized scores dropped by 9.3 points.

The sad part is that most kids spend more time behind the screen than they do playing with other kids or time spent outdoors. Some of this is because parents are more protective than those of previous generations were. When I was six, my parents gave me a radius I was allowed to play in that spanned a half of my block, and I was good to go until the street lights came on. There is no way on earth I would allow my six year old daughter outside of our yard without me watching.

We make up for this time by having them play on devices while we take care of the things stopping us from being outside with them. What we really need to evaluate as parents is how we can spend more quality time as a family outdoors or by being more socially active with our children. This would solve the screen time issues and give us time with our children while they still like us.

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