Is Excess Screen Time Damaging Children Psychologically?

“Where do you find that line between what’s good and helpful for them and what is harmful?”

Kids on Ipads

Dreamstime.com

PITTSBURGH (News Radio 1020 KDKA) – For years parents have been concerned about the level of influence advertising and social media have on our children.

It is one thing if they are encouraging children to do well, but what if these ads are encouraging them to behave in ways that are harmful? 

Well, in this day and age, smartphones are given to kids at younger and younger ages and they are exposed to the internet, social media and video games for hours upon hours during the day. 

This is causing parents and healthcare officials to wonder if excess screen time is affecting children psychologically.

Dr. Lauren Fasig Caldwell, JD, PhD the Director of the Children, Youth and Family Office at the American Psychologically Association tells The KDKA Radio Afternoon News, “I think it is reasonable to be concerned.  We definitely have seen research that shows some problematic outcomes in children.”

“Like most things, I think it’s an issue of moderation and also thinking about the benefits of the use of technology.  Where do you find that line between what’s good and helpful for them and what is harmful?”

Dr. Caldwell added that it is very important for parents to be informed and children as they get older so they can better understand the information.  “We have to think about where we are crossing the line between still having healthy in person engagements and perhaps isolating yourself and not participating in opportunities around to you be online.”

Dr. Caldwell stresses the need for moderation and says, “It can be a struggle for sure.  Children are enjoying the engagement and so sometimes it is hard to get them to put it down, but each parent has their own way of interacting with their children and regulating their behavior in other realms and I would suggest extending those same regulations into this realm as well.”

“Parents know their own kids.  You know when your child is suffering, or not getting enough sleep or not interacting with friends, so it is up to each parent to make those changes in their own home.”

Dr. Caldwell added that parents have control over their children’s access to social media and technology use and they need to exercise that control even though it can be difficult.