Time to Cut Back

Your pre-teen–in front of a screen.  Is it time to cut back?

According to a new stats, only one out of four kids between the ages of 12-15 meet the doctor recommended limit of two hours or less of screen time each day.

USA Today is reporting on the survey, which found that 7% of kids this age range reported watching five hours or more a day of TV, while 5% said they used a computer for five hours or more each day.

The lead author of the report, Kirsten Herrick, at the National Center for Health Statistics , says getting an accurate read on the true extent of kids’ screen-time is complicated by all the new technologies now available.

She says “We don’t know, for example, how kids would have categorized watching TV on a cellphone. Technology has outpaced our ability to capture (usage), so we might have an overestimation or an underestimation. We’re really not sure.”

As you may have heard me mention before on these reports, excessive screen-time use has been linked to elevated blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and being overweight or obese.  And screen-time habits established in adolescence have been shown to continue into adulthood

As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics says children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and the media content should be of “high quality.” The AAP says that children under age 2 should get no screen time.

By the way, the new report also found that NCHS report:

99% of teens said they watched TV daily, and 91% reported using the computer daily outside of school.

Although there were no significant gender differences associated with the amount of TV viewing, boys were more likely that girls to report using a computer for more than two hours a day.

If this has become a problem in your home, check out some of the great articles on Focus on the Family’s youth culture website, PluggedIn.com.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.