Teens too low on sleep, activity, and too high on screen time

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In today’s society, it should come as no surprise that teens are always on the move. With those busy schedules, something has to fall by the wayside, whether that’s staying up late or skipping the gym to spend time with friends.

However, a new study found that sleep and physical activity are on the decline for many teens, while time spent in front of screens is going up, all of which could affect teens’ health in the long run.

How much screen time is too much screen time?

The Right Amount

When we are talking about screen time, it includes any time an individual is in front of a screen, including gaming devices, television, computers, iPads/tablets, and phones.

Pediatricians have released information regarding how much screen time is “the right amount” since it is recognized that children learn best through face-to-face interactions with others.

According to new research by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) children ages 6 to 12 should get 9-12 hours a night, and those ages 14 to 18 should get 8-10 hours a night. All children between the ages of 6 and 18 should get at least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise a day, and should limit screen time and exposure to all screen-based digital media to less than 2 hours in a 24-hour period.

Parents vs Children

When parents think about limiting their child’s screen time, it is important to reflect on their own screen time first. Many parents do not consider that they are role models for their children and how their children view screen time. If a parent uses screen time to relax, it teaches children that screen time can be used as a tool to soothe or pacify kids. There are not only concerns about how much children use screens, but how much adults do since it takes them away from being available for their children. It is helpful to set up family rules for screen time and have everyone follow the rules.

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