Doctors: New rules for kids and media - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Doctors: New rules for kids and media

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By: Bill Schammert

The numbers are staggering.  The American Academy of Pediatrics says teenagers spend more than 11 hours a day attached to some sort of electronic screen - computers, televisions, tablets and cell phones.  And, Seventy-five percent of 12-to-17 year olds now own a cell phone.

"Children's ability to relate with other children, with peers, with parents and teachers, it declines when they're always attached to a screen," Susannah Rolf said.

Rolf is an outpatient therapist for the Child Guidance Center in Lincoln.  She says this increase in media access has led to a new age in bullying.

"I think it makes it more accessible as far as bullying is concerned, and it's sad because it really is impacting our kids," Rolf said.

The AAP calls it "Managing Media."  It's an idea that calls for a dramatic reduction in the amount of time kids spend in front of some sort of screen.

It's an idea that may look simple on paper, but for some Lincoln parents, implementation may be a whole different story.

"I think it's a very good idea in theory," mother of 3, Deb Lambert, said. "But it's going to get more difficult as the kids get older.  A lot of schools are using tablets and iPads for kids to do their homework."

She says her kids' phones are always with them and go to bed with them because they serve as an alarm clock.

Holly Klink is a mother of three young girls, all under the age of ten.  She says they try to spend as much time away from electronics as possible, but it's hard. 


"Right now our daughters are still too young, but they don't have any electronics in their room and we plan on keeping it that way as long as they're under our roof."

So here are those official recommendations from The American Academy of Pediatrics:

- Create a media diet.  Let children know there are mealtime and bedtime curfews for when to unplug.
- Don't allow any electronic screens in the bedroom.
- Limit use to less than two hours per day, unless homework requires more.
- Minimize access as much as possible for children less than two years of age.

For more information on the study, click here.


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