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Experts say they see an increase in children’s screen time amidst pandemic

Dr. Michael Ramsey said he believes everyone is spending more time in front of their screen since the start of COVID-19.
Published: Feb. 15, 2021 at 5:43 PM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - During the pandemic there are less things to do, which leads to more time staring a screen.

Dr. Michael Ramsey, pediatrician at Dothan Pediatric Clinic, said he believes everyone is spending more time in front of their screen since the start of COVID-19.

However, excessive screen time in young children can lead to increased irritability.

“We’ve sort of lost the ability to be bored and so always having a video on your phone and be able to access that immediately is not always the best thing,” Dr. Ramsey said. “Children need to be able to self-regulate and so having times when they are a little bit bored, is important for younger children.”

If the screen time continues to be extreme a child can face long term issues which include excessive weight gain and behavioral problems.

“If they have a tendency toward ADHD it tends to help accelerate that or bring that out and make that worse,” Dr. Ramsey said.

The recommended screen time for children two and up are one to two hours a day, that does not include instructional time for students taking virtual classes. Dr. Ramsey does not recommend screen time for children under the age of two.

“There is going to be days that are different and don’t beat yourself up about it,” Dr. Ramsey said. “If you know you are not feeling well or if it’s a day out of school, of course they are going to have more time of recreation, it’s okay to let them have a little bit of that extra time.”

Just like with other activities, Dr. Ramsey suggests breaking the daily screen time up.

“A lot of times it’s beneficial to have another family member or adult to be able to experience that time with them so that it’s not just completely passive,” Dr. Ramsey said. “It can spark conversations about what they’re seeing, about what their family thinks is important, so using that as an educational time but also as a fun time to bond with their parents.”

Whether there is a screen or not, a time to bond with your child is something Dr. Ramsey said can be cherished during this pandemic.

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