Ask The Pediatrician: Media Overload

Four-year-old Rex Sykes loves singing to his favorite shows.

His mom, Tess Sykes, says "He can do Frogger on the iPad and find Wildcats or PBSkids,org," but she makes sure that time is limited.

"I set the time on the microwave a lot to make sure that I don't get started on dinner and they end up watching TV forever," said Sykes.

Which leaves plenty of time for play and doctors say, with so many options out there, it doesn't take much for kids to get media overload.

Dr. Clancy McNally says, "We recommend no more than two hours of a square box time and kids are doing more like seven to 10."

And she says it's taking its toll. Those action-packed videos kids love often mean a shorter attention span, trouble winding down and going to sleep at night and weight gain.

Dr. Clancy McNally told us, "If they're spending time in front of the TV, they're not spending time outside playing and being active and then too, oftentimes when they're sitting in front of the TV, they're sitting there mindlessly munching on a snack."

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends having screen-free zones in your house. They say you should avoid having a TV in your child's bedroom and even if a room where many of us have one: your kitchen.

Tess Sykes said, "We don't have any electronic devices nor do we answer our phones during dinner so we try to really make that our family time and talk to each other."

Time, she says, is well spent.

Dr. McNally says if you do have a television in your kitchen, be sure to turn it off during mealtime. She also recommends, instead of watching television, get back to reading and playing board games as a family.

About the Author...
Serese Cole
Serese is no stranger to the Midwest. She was born and raised in Kansas City and after years of moving from state to state - has called Nebraska home the last decade.
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