Have you purchased or checked in to buying the latest electronic gadgets? Wow, are they expensive! For example, the latest Ipod touch will run around $200! That doesn’t include the protective case or all the apps! While products like Ipods, Ipads, smart phones, gaming systems, tablets and personal entertainment devices cost lots of money, the financial expense is no comparison to how much excessive “screen time” on those devices are costing young minds.
My name is Deanna “Dina” Fulcher. I’ve been with ABC Pediatrics for over 20 years and I’m the mother of two girls, ages 3 and 8. As a mother and a concerned member of the medical community, the true cost of electronics on our youth is very important to me. While I strive to achieve balance for my girls by raising them according to the traditions I was raised, I find it very difficult in light of all the exposure they constantly receive from everyday life. It’s tough for them to understand that phones weren’t everywhere 20 years ago, televisions had just a few channels, games were played with “other people and in person” and that some of the best times were spent outside.
Limiting screen time has been heavily discussed recently in light of the extensive use of electronic devices among children. Studies show that television viewing, electronic device and computer use are related to higher psychological difficulty, including emotional symptoms, conduct problems and relationship problems. In addition, increased screen time and less “face to face” interaction inhibits a child’s ability to recognize real human emotions and communicate effectively with others.Face to face interaction and communication are absolutely essential for a child’s healthy development. The healthcare providers at ABC Pediatrics recommend limiting screen time to 2 hours per day. By doing so, the window of time for human interaction opens up and children have more opportunity to develop their vulnerable minds more effectively.
Join me in protecting the minds of our children by giving them the greatest gift possible: YOUR TIME and YOUR PERSONAL ATTENTION! Recognize that no matter how busy the NEVER-ENDING chores of a parent or guardian become, children need more face to face time, active listening, eye contact, human conversation and old-fashion, good fun. Tune in to your child’s needs and limit his or her screen time. The positive effects of increased interactions between you and your child will ensure a healthier relationship and safeguard your child’s development, creativity, and emotional security.
If someone were to ask me what I would spend my last penny on, it would be my girls. However, I’ve come to realize that the most precious gifts don’t cost money at all and are the most rewarding. For more information about developing a screen time limit for your child, the healthcare team at ABC Pediatrics is here for you. Contact us today at (910) 892-1333. Also, feel free to share your ideas for limiting family screen time in comments!