Are your kids getting too much screen time this summer?

Published: Jul. 17, 2019 at 5:01 PM EDT
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MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - Millions of kids around the country are on summer break and many of them are spending too much time in front of screens.

“I think it happens all year round but more so in the summer,” Dr. Justine DeCastro said. “They want a break from school and they want to use their iPads and phones more because they have that extra time.”

DeCastro works at Sewee Family Medicine in Mount Pleasant and frequently talks with her patients about their children’s screen habits.

“Too much time on the screen, especially with teenagers, has been shown to be associated with depression, sleep problems and obesity, so we recommend that kids not stay on their phone more than one or two hours a day," she added.

One way to get your family involved in decreasing screen time is to make a family media plan.

“I did this the other night with my family and it was really fun because we got to go by each child’s age and make choices and decisions as a family," DeCastro said. “For example, we’re not going to have our phone out while we’re eating. So we’ll have screen-free zones and screen-free times.”

DeCastro suggested kids not look at their phone right when they wake up and should also avoid looking at it an hour before bedtime. She suggested parents look at the Common Sense Media website to see reviews about the appropriate age level for different applications, television shows and movies.

“Just remind them that it is a privilege that they should earn, it’s not their right to have [a phone]," she reminds parents. DeCastro also emphasized the importance of parents acting as good role models and decrease their screen time as well.

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