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Study: Social Media Could Be Bad For Kids

Doctors worry that smart phones and laptops have become the "babysitters" and families are forgetting how to interact face-to-face.
Doctors worry that smart phones and laptops have become the "babysitters" and families are forgetting how to interact face-to-face.

The same doctors we turn to when it comes to keeping our babies healthy now say an unhealthy habit could be leading our children into dangerous territory.

For the first time in a decade, the American Academy of Pediatrics has revised its guidelines regarding young people and the use of media.

It says parents should place a 2-hour time limit a day on their son or daughter's smart phone use of what they call "passive screen time"--playing video games, watching YouTube or movies, and tweeting or checking out Facebook.

The study's author says the 8 hours young people currently spend on passive screen time is way too much.

"That's more time that they spend in school,” says Tom Orrock, a family therapist. “And more time that they spend on any other activity but sleeping. So yeah, there needs to be a more reasonable number than 8 hours a day."

Easier said than done.

Orrock recommends once homework is done, then it's time to negotiate.

"Get your homework done then you can be on your phone or on line or gaming between that time and dinner,” says Orrock.

And speaking of dinner, Orrock says make that quality family time, away from social media.

"It's almost to the point now where some families don't even know how to talk to each other when they do have time together,” says Orrock. “Just because it seems foreign to them to be sitting with each other just looking at each other."

The pediatric group says excessive media use contributes to obesity, lack of sleep and behavioral issues.

And, if you're wondering just how much more our kids are online: a new study shows there's been a 40 percent jump in electronic media use by children 8-years-old and younger.


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