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Too much screen time for kids can have negative impacts on mental health

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Posted at 8:07 AM, Dec 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-13 10:07:42-05

HELENA — The Kaiser Family Foundation states that in a year, the amount of time teenagers and children spend in front of the screen would add up to 114 days.

Since the pandemic began, parents faced the decision of going fully remote or a hybrid model of two days a week and three days of remote learning in Helena. Generally, when the class time is done, the screen time doesn't stop.

All that screen time could also be affecting your child's mental health, according to Dr. Kaile Ross, who is a clinical psychologist at St. Peter's Health in Helena. “For young adults in particular, kind of hours spent on the screen are sometimes at risk for depression,” said Ross.

There are additional factors to consider, “things like a decrease in the creativity of kind of problem-solving, because kids are so tuned into screen time, “ Ross added.

When it comes to preschoolers, excessive screen time may also result in negative behavior.

"Sometimes, with the increased screen time, they are more likely to exhibit things like tantrums, difficulty regulating emotions, so those pieces come into play as well,” Ross said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that children ages eight to 18-years-old spend an average of six hours per day in front of the screen, for entertainment.

When it comes to a solution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one hour of physical activity is recommended.

Even during a pandemic, if children are outside and socially distancing, a mask is not required, so that it does not compromise their breathing.