Rising Screen Time, Lasting Effects

How many hours of TV does your family watch every day? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should spend no more than two hours watching TV, movies, and playing video/computer games.  It is no surprise that children mirror just about anything and everything that they see and hear, and studies are now showing that excessive TV exposure can have detrimental health and behavioral effects on children.

Excessive screen time has been linked to a number of negative consequences, including:

  • Obesity – Children who sit in front of the screen for more than 2 hours a day have an increased risk of obesity, due to a smaller amount of exercise. Additionally, TV commercials can introduce unhealthy foods to children.
  • Irregular Sleeping – Due to a lack of energy expenditure and increased mental arousal, watching a lot of TV can lead to a greater struggle at bedtime.
  • Behavior Issues – Elementary students who watch more than 2 hours of TV have a higher chance of developing an attention, social, or emotional disorder.
  • Decreased Academic Performance – Excessive TV watching has been linked to poor academic performance, compared to children who watch less TV.
  • Aggression – Studies show correlation between television exposure and aggression. In fact, those infamous Saturday morning cartoons are one of the worst offenders of airing violence. Exposure to violence and mature material on TV, in movies and video games desensitizes children to this inappropriate behavior, instilling the idea that aggression and violence is a safe and appropriate way to resolve issues.
  • Less Play – Children who sit in front of the TV are wasting time that could be spent playing outside or with friends.  Active play develops creativity, which is important for your child’s development.

For more information on ways to limit your child’s screen time and deciding which shows are appropriate for your child to watch, visit our website. Fort HealthCare can also give you the help and motivation you need to make healthy family choices with the NEW Movin’ and Losin’ family class. This class, held every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. from September 17 to October 22, is designed for families with children ages 8 – 15 years old who are looking for ways to incorporate healthier eating and fitness habits into their everyday lifestyle. Each week, one of our Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and Occupational Therapists will cover a different topic related to diet and exercise, including a family activity utilizing Fort HealthCare’s new Railyard fitness equipment. Space is limited! Register online today or call Andrea Billinghurst at (920) 568-5244 to reserve your spot!

Katherine Lemon, MD

About Katherine Lemon, MD

Education
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Residency
UW Hospital and Clinics

Board Certification
American Board of Pediatrics
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