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Does Extended Use of Video Affect Kids?

Children who spend many hours in front of a screen or video game; might be missing out on real, personal interactions that are vital to their development.

Parents can struggle with how much time should be spent in front of a screen. There are several things parents need to remember when setting boundaries for television, video game, and computer time. One of which is, how these boundaries are helpful in raising children with balanced lives.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children over the age of 2 have no more than 2 hours of quality television or video time each day. Time spent in front of video screens is time not spent, interacting with family or peers. Being in front of a screen means they are missing out on personal connections, academic activities, exercising, or playing. Studies have shown that children who spend too much time watching television or playing video games are more at risk for obesity and diabetes. They tend to have lower grades in school, and can have more difficulties with friendships and negative behaviors.

With new boundaries, comes new challenges.

Children are inundated with advertisements, peer pressure, and societal influences every day that revolve around the artificial worlds of television and video gaming. For this reason, it is extremely important that parents set clear boundaries for children and maintain those. While ensuring not to present the boundaries as punishment. Rather, showing them as healthy living standards, just like eating fruits and vegetables and attending classes regularly.

It will not be an easy adjustment at first. There are, however, things that parents can do to eliminate the whining and complain, while making the transitions easier. Parents can make efforts to fill that new free time with fun activities. Such as going on family bike rides or having a board game night. Activities with friends where a monitor is not available, such as at the pool or park can also be fun.

During this time, children will test the new boundaries. It is paramount that parents stick with the preset limits. Once children see that the boundaries are firm, they will learn to accept them more readily. Parents should be involved with the programs their children are viewing. Watching shows together is a great way to open doors of communication on topics that might otherwise be difficult to address. Paying attention to the ratings on shows and games is also valuable, as studies have also shown that regular exposure to violence on screen can have negative effects on children.

Children learn by the examples set for them.

Extra efforts made by parents to set boundaries for television and video game times will have lasting results. Maintaining a positive attitude and staying active in the lives of children is of utmost importance. Children will learn by example on how to lead healthier lives. The extra time spent together with real people will help children build emotional intelligence.

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