Parents can encourage better study habits and healthier lifestyles by limiting the amount of time their children spend in front of a screen. From TVs and laptops to tablets and smartphones, screen time trades off with other valuable activities, according to a study of over 1,300 3rd to 5th graders. “Reducing total screen time increases children’s amount of sleep, which in turn lowered their weight gain. Reducing total screen time also led to higher school performance, more prosocial behavior, and lower aggressive behavior.” Reducing media violence also resulted in more prosocial behavior.
What’s the Big Idea?
Due to the emergence of different kinds of media and different kinds of media platforms, most researchers think in terms of “total screen time.” So rather than limiting the amount of time a child spends watching TV, parents are encouraged to consider all the entertainment hours spent before TV, DVDs, iPad, Facebook, and video games. “[T]he American Academy of Pediatrics…recommend that elementary school children spend no more than one hour of total screen time a day, and no more than two hours a day for secondary school children.”