Screen time has benefits

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Technology can sometimes get a bad rap when it comes to kids and too much screen time. But before unplugging, it’s important to know about the benefits technology can offer.

Games, TV, social media. They can grab your child’s attention in an instant, and it can oftentimes be hard to shut off.

“We’re in the stage where I’m working really hard to limit screen time and time they spend on technology. My four year old, you know, less is more is my theme for him,” Kristin Gackle said.

Kristin Gackle has two sons, ages 4 and 7.

While she and her husband do set boundaries on screen time, she’s noticed the benefits that can come from allowing her 7-year-old to use it.

“With my seven-year-old, especially, that he is learning in a different way. And it is more exciting to him than a pencil and paper sometimes,” Gackle said.

Family life educator Katrina Anderson says there is such a thing as too much screen time, but certain activities be educational.

“I mean, even fine motor skills of being able to like type in something on like a tablet or on a keyboard. They’re learning things as they go. Plus, because technology is so big in our world right now, when they get into school, a lot of kids are then being presented with a tablet to take home. They’re going to have to learn how to use it,” Anderson said.

Not only are kids learning skills they’ll use as adults, technology is helping make learning fun.

“My seven-year-old has a tablet sent home from school right now. And I do see how he loves math because of the app he uses with that. I see how it’s expanding his world. So we try to use technology to help our kids grow and develop and become thriving kids,” Gackle said.

But when it comes time for sleep, experts don’t recommend allowing kids to fall asleep to any form of media.

Anderson says that’s due to the light being emitted from screens, which can disrupt a child’s sleep.
Her best advice is to get familiar with what your child is using, and help them utilize it for their future.

“There are pros and cons to technology, but because it’s so encompassing in our world, we do want them to learn how to be able to search something on the internet. Be able to pull up an app, how to do that,” Anderson said.

Anderson also recommends doing screen time with your child, making sure what’s displayed is appropriate and beneficial.

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