Study: Electronics Affecting Child Development

10:50 PM, Oct 28, 2013   |    comments
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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A new article focused on your child's habits with their cell phones and tablets may have you stepping in to prevent any long-term damage.

A new study out today by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows allowing your children to sleep with their electronic devices affects their sleep habits and, in turn, could affect their development.

The article reveals a recent study that says children eight to ten years old spend nearly eight hours a day with different media. For older kids and teens, the average is more than 11 hours a day.

All that face time can be bad news. "When there is something that is being interjected on a daily basis, that the brain is not used to or isn't always helpful for development, it can impact development, it can actually stunt development," said Psychotherapist Dr. Nannette Funderburk.

But it's not just brain development that has experts worried. Developing social and emotional skills may also feel the impact. "When a child is in front of the screen for hours on end, that impacts how they decide to relate to other people or whether they relate to other people and how well they relate to other people," said Funderburk. "Do they pick up on those social cues?"

Every parent is different, but you may want to consider limiting the amount of hours your child uses their phone or tablet. Many parents already keep a close eye on their child's habits.

"It just kind of depends on the child, I think and what the rules are in the home," said Triad parent Tonya Burkett. "If they're on there just chitchatting with friends and not getting their things done, then it does need to be cutting time."

"They have to have certain rules to use," added Triad parent Philomena Obasogie-Asidi. "In my home, they have all the stuff, but they have certain ages and we have parental control on TV and the computers and on their laptops and iPads and all that stuff."

The study suggests setting mealtime and bedtime curfews that may help alleviate the problem.

So how much is too much? The study suggests only one to two hours for kids in elementary school or younger. But if your child is under 2, they say no screen time at all. You can be more lenient as your child gets closer to their teens.

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