5 On Your Side

Set screen time limits for yourself to set example for kids

Posted June 15

Trying to have a conversation or even make eye contact with many children is difficult, especially when they're glued to a screen.

Some parents try to limit how much time their kids spend on devices, and the reason is serious: too much screen time could lead to real health problems for your children. A recent study of 9- to 10-year-olds who spent more than three hours a day on devices are 18 percent more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.

Mindless snacking plays into that, and it doesn't help that screen time is often accompanied by junk food ads.

So, how do you get your kids not to spend so much time in front of TV or on devices?

"Remember the old saying, 'Monkey see, monkey do?' Well, if you're doing it, it's likely your kids are too," said Consumer Reports Tercius Bufete. "So, first, set limits on your own screen time. Then set limits for them."

Some good techniques to stick to those limits:

– During dinner, force all family members to put devices away and turn off the TV

– Only allow screens in certain rooms of the house

– Use routers like Google WiFi and Eero, which have apps you can use to block access during certain times of day

The American Academy of Pediatrics also has a Media Time Calculator, which can help determine age-appropriate limits for your child.

Perhaps the best way to cut back on screen time, though, is to get your kids outside and into sports, such as biking, walking or even just throwing a ball around.

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