Experts say screen time matters when it comes to children

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — With most Georgia students attending school from home, mobile devices have become the forefront of communication.

But how much screen time is too much?

Bibb County students have no set number of hours to complete each day, according to the district. Floyd Jolley, the executive director of teaching and learning for the Bibb County School District, says it depends on the grade level.

Middle and high school students have six or seven classes per day. Each class lasts about an hour. Elementary students have different activities, minimizing their number of classes.

“There is really not an exact amount of screen time that is proper or improper,” Jolley said. “If you look at what the experts say they say that not all screen time is the same. So you have to look at what students are doing during that screen time to determine if it’s good or bad for a student.”

Jolley says in the age of virtual learning, Bibb County students spend time on computers every day — but not all day.

“Students are given breaks, they also have a lunch break in there,” Jolley said.

According to Jolley, students engage in screen time that is engaging, interactive, and social. That differs from students watching videos or playing video games.

Navicent Health doctors say as students become adolescents, interactive and social screen time becomes beneficial.

“As far as educational components to it, there are some positives and reinforcements,” Dr. Shelley Street Callender said.

However, Callender says excessive screen time for younger children can cause health issues like obesity. Callender says screen time for children under two-years-old, in general, isn’t helpful.

“It’s found to impact their learning abilities,” Dr. Callender said.

Signs that your child gets too much screen time centers around a change in behavior, according to Callender.

She says parents may see signs of depression, obsession with electronic devices, insomnia, or even violence.

American Academy of Pediatrics stats

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children between the ages of 8 and 18 average 7.5 hours of entertainment media per day.

“If you’re getting up and above 5 hours you may want to look into that,” said Callender.

Callender says it helps to create a schedule for your child to follow after finishing virtual learning.

Jolley says quality time works, too.

“Cut out some TV and have family time. Maybe do board games. Spend time outside with one another,” Jolley said.

For more information, visit the American Academy of Pediatric website.