Parents urged to keep an eye on childrens' screentime

Child playing video games. (Getty)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — With life under quarantine, it is easy for families to develop bad screen habits, especially young children. But doctors are urging parents to closely monitor how much time kids are spending in front of TV’s and tablets when they are trapped at home.

“I think it's probably important to create good habits. It'll be so important for the kids to have good boundaries and a good schedule,” said Dr. Rebecca Dixon at Riley Children’s Hospital.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only 60 minutes of child screen time a day. That does not include time spent on e-Learning.

With the hustle and bustle of normal life, it is a bit easier to monitor time spent in front of screens, but we don’t know how long quarantine will be the new normal. Dr. Dixon said there are serious concerns with allowing children to constantly be locked into screens.

“Those kids don’t grow as well. They don’t develop as well and those are the kids that struggle in school more,” Dr. Dixon said.

However, Dr. Dixon said the overall concern should be if TV, phones and tablets are being used as a parenting crutch. Parents shouldn’t beat themselves up if they find that children are watching more TV than normal.

“Doing the best you can, giving yourself some grace, planning some time, I think really having a schedule is important,” Dr. Dixon said.

Arts and Crafts and outdoor play are good alternatives. The Indiana Chapter of The American Academy of Pediatrics has put together a guide for parents of resources available during the COVID-19 outbreak.