BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - For many of us, more time at home means more time in front of a screen, especially for your kids when distance learning starts up again this school year.
Dr. Jacob Wood, a family medicine physician at Baton Rouge General, says it’s important we know the difference between helpful and mindless screen time.
“You still have to separate that into ‘what’s learning,’ ‘what’s creative,’ ‘what’s helping my mind grow,’ versus ‘what is passive consumption,’” said Dr. Wood.
He says kids ages 11 to 13 years old should have no more than two hours of screen time a day.
Of course, that goes out the window when your kids have to sit at a Chromebook to do homework.
Dr. Wood says you don’t need to count schoolwork as screen time, but you should limit passive screen time that doesn’t have benefit. The family medicine physician’s biggest concern is kids becoming addicted to the screens.
“We’ve all gone down that rabbit hole wondering, ‘How have I been watching stupid videos for the last three hours? This is crazy.’ So, if it can get a grown person, it’s going to be able to get a kid,” he said.
Dr. Wood says one way to see if your child is addicted to smart devices is by mentioning you’re going to take the devices away. If your child becomes irritable or angry, he or she may be addicted.
He also says you need to be just as proactive with monitoring your screen time, as you would do with your kids.
One way to do that is with a digital detox, which is like resetting your system. Just like a detox in a nutritional diet, he says you can approach a digital detox in two ways.
One way is to do it cold turkey by completely giving up screens for a couple of weeks. Dr. Wood says this option isn’t always viable, but it works for some people.
Or, you can cut back screen time in increments. Once you notice how many times a day you pick up your phone, try to trim your usage time from there.
A digital detox may encourage your family to be more aware of the time spent on your devices.
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