Children between the ages of 8 to 18 get about 7 hours a day of screen time. But the American Heart Association says that’s way too much—kids shouldn’t have more than two hours of screen time each day. Why? The main concern is that too much screen time can lead to obesity in children.
“If kids are in front a screen, they start snacking,” said Dr. Tara Narula, in a segment released on CBS This Morning. “They aren’t paying attention to clues that tell them they’re full…and the blue light from the screen affects their ability to go to sleep. And we know lack of sleep can play into a risk of obesity.”
The study doesn’t directly link screen time with cardiovascular problems specifically. But the correlation is simple enough to follow. Obesity impacts heart health, and screen time may impact obesity.
Of course, obesity and heart disease are not the only risks of too much screen time. Some studies have shown that excessive screen time can also hurt a child’s development of social skills, in addition to creating problems with information retention.
At the same time, the long-term impacts of screen time remain unclear. There a plethora of myths about screen time, and parents can also create quality time with their children by making screen time a bonding experience. Still, if your grade-schooler is planning on binge-watching more than two hours of a TV show, it might not be a bad idea to dole out those episodes one night at a time.
If nothing else, it will make the American Heart Association happy.