Pediatricians changing recommendations for adolescent screen time

Recommendations changing to reflect societal changes

For many years, doctors have recommended kids be limited to just a couple hours a day in front of TV, computer and tablet screens.

But now pediatricians are adjusting those recommendations, as those devices become more prevalent in the lives of teenagers and more kids are being assigned homework on computers and iPads.

Instead of a hard limit on the overall time kids spend on those devices, doctors recommend monitoring the amount of leisure time spent with them.

“We’re reasonable people,” said Dr. CJ Menagh of Mayo Clinic Health System. “We understand that the world has changed. Back in 1999, the recommendation was no screen time before the age of 2, and no more than 2 hours a day for anyone else. We realize that that really is not a very reasonable thing to be doing in today’s age.”

Pediatricians also say too much screen time can lead to more kids needing glasses. They say they’ve seen the number of near-sighted children increase after spending so much time fixated on the screens in front of them. To avoid near-sightedness, doctors recommend looking away from the screens for a few minutes and focusing on something in the distance.

Too much screen time can also make it difficult for kids to fall asleep at night, which is why doctors also say parents should keep TVs out of a child’s bedroom, and have them charge their smartphones and other devices in another room.