How much screen time should children have during spring break?

How long is too long for your children to hang on to their phone or tablet during spring break? It's and easy way to entertain them, but yes, more and more research is showing it hurts children to sit in front of a screen all day.

A check of the American Academy of Pediatrics does not give a set amount of recommended time for children over the age of 5. It says parents should set limits to make sure children are not giving up sleep or physical activity to play on their phone. If your children ask why you’re cutting them off from their devices, the following three reasons are good ones you can give:

  1. It can mess up your vision. Several studies have linked prolonged device use with nearsightedness.
  2. It can make you sad. A 2017 study in Korea found young people were more likely to report mental wellness issues, or even suicidal thoughts, the more they were online. Studies also found giving up face-to-face interaction for online chatting leaves you less able to understand human emotions, also known as, a lot harder to make and keep real-life friends.
  3. It hurts your grades. Multiple studies have found eliminating technology for a few days can make a big impact on your ability to learn and think. So, ask them, "Do you want to get into a good school? Be capable of doing the kinds of hard jobs that get paid big bucks someday? Take a break from the screen."

The following three recommendations are for managing your children's time during spring break:

  1. Make them take breaks every 20 minutes.
  2. If they’re really resisting you, ask them to map out their 24-hour day, blocking out time for things like sleep, school, extracurricular activities, homework, chores, meals and showering. They’ll see how life adds up.
  3. Try to get them to play group games, so they get more face-to-face interaction.
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