If You Have a Teen, Check Your Screen Time Rules Says Science

Much like sleep training, how much screen time to allow your child is an oft-debated topic. There are varying schools of thoughts on screen time – some say no screen time is really the best option, while others say a more flexible approach is best. But, what kind of screen time, if any, is best for your child? A new analysis on teens and screen time may provide an answer.

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A recent study published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics found that TV and video games were tied to poorer school performance, while playing on phones or going online didn’t clearly show any negative affect on school performance. (This means Google searches or other Internet needs related to homework are probably just fine.)

Video games and TV may impact school performance in teens.

Researchers reviewed 58 studies and found that watching TV and playing video games negatively affected kids’ school performance, particularly in their teenage years.

With that in mind, it may be time to further define the term “screen time,” Michael Robb, senior director of research for Common Sense, a nonprofit that shares screen time limit recommendations for parents told USA Today. It “doesn’t capture the many different ways that different kids use media and affect them in different ways,” he told the outlet.

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 95% of teenagers have smartphones or access to one. Nearly half say they are online almost constantly. Further, the survey found that 4 in 10 kids keep their phones near or in their bed, with girls outpacing boys.

Parents need to check how teens are using screens.

In the end, the study is a reminder to parents to pay closer attention to not only what their children doing online, but for how long.

“Parents always have to monitor kids and how much game playing they have,” Victor Fornari, vice chairman of the Child & Adolescent Psychiatry department at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York told USA Today. “Parents have to do more. They have to be very involved with what kids are doing on their screen time.”

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