Poll: Still Too Much Screen Time for Kids

So what are we doing to reduce the hours our kids watch TV?  Not much, it turns out.

A new poll has found that about 25 percent of parents who have children aged two to five say their children get three or more hours of entertainment screen time a day, well beyond recommended limits, according to newswise.com.

The news isn't all bad: a little more than half of those parents do try to set some limits by location: banning media devices from places like the bedroom or at mealtime.

Here's what the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) had to say about TV and kids: "The AAP discourages any screen time for children less than two years of age. For older children, the AAP recommends no more than two hours daily. The AAP suggests keeping media devices out of children’s bedrooms, keeping family routines like mealtime screen-free, and setting screen-free days for the whole family."

I've flunked about all of those.  My son, who'd much rather spend time on the computer and X-box, has a TV in his room (swears he can't sleep without it, my fault because I'm the same way), and I even let him eat dinner in front of the computer.

The poll found that 53 percent of parents are following recommendations that children’s entertainment screen time be limited by location. Twenty-eight percent said they use a combination of location and time limits.
But 13 percent said they do not limit entertainment screen time or locations for their young children.
“When you get to three or four hours each day, that screen time crowds out other important activities that babies and young kids should be engaging in: looking at books, going for walks or playing outside,” the Web site quotes Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.
And that's certainly true in my house, at least in the winter.  Now that spring's (almost) here in the Northeast, my son gets out and play soccer every day. But in the winter he didn't budge from the screen till bedtime (and sometimes not even then!).
I tend to be a laid-back parent.  I figure just about everything takes care of itself, over time.  My son doesn't seem to show any damage from all the screen time.  Of course, who would know?  Unless, God forbid, he started communicating with me only through texting or email, which I hear some kids do.

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