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Kids And Screen Time

July 22, 2014, 6:26 PM by Brittany Larson

Kids And Screen Time

Between TV, video games, tablets, smart phones and laptops, teens have a lot of screen time.  A new survey finds 75 percent of kids spend at least two hours a day using electronics.

"It's something to do when I'm bored. When I am stressed out, I just play and it's a fun way to relieve stress, I guess," Alex Ramirez said.

Ramirez says he started playing video games when he was four.

"Yeah my eyes get dry and if they do, then I just stop playing for a little," Ramirez said.

Ten years later, he plays every day.

"I play when I wake up sometimes and then after about an hour or two, I get up to take a shower and get ready and start watching TV and if I go out, I'll do that and then probably come back and play some more until maybe about 6 o'clock," Ramirez said

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children and teens spend no more than two hours in front of a screen daily.

"The biggest thing we worry about is the lack of activity. If you are sitting staring at screen, you are not moving. So those kids tend to be heavier and they have tendencies toward obesity and they have problems with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and there are also side effects with lack of sleep," Avera Pediatrician Dr. Shari Eich said.

Eich also recommends keeping TV out of the bedroom.

"You want to try and avoid screens about an hour before bed time so you can give yourself a chance to wind down because even though with TV some people think it's relaxing, it gets you thinking and you actually have a hard time falling asleep," Eich said.

Games aren't all bad.  Parents of young children are encouraged to use electronic devices as learning tools.

"I see more and more all the time there's things like ABCmouse.com, which helps pre-schoolers learning to read.  Even some of the games that they can play, there's definitely educational benefits to those too," Eich said.

Ramirez sees his games as fun and all the time he spends on them doesn't bother his parents.

"They don't really mind because they know it doesn't really bother me or affect me because I know it just a game," Ramirez said.    

Another thing experts recommend is making sure the time your kids spend in front of a screen isn't more than other activities like playing outside or reading.

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