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Banning Tablets is Best for Children

New parental guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggest that screen media use, such as tablets, should be banned for children 18 months old and younger, and restricted to one hour or less per day for children up to age 5 years. During that hour, parents should co-view the media to help the kids understand what they’re watching, the AAP says. For those ages 6 and older, parents are urged to make sure the media doesn’t replace sleep time and physical activity.

I applaud this new recommendation, but I wish the Academy had gone a step further to talk about the “mind-boggling” nine hours a day that teens spend using media. It’s almost incomprehensible for those of us who try to limit our media contact, but one study of 13-year-olds showed that some may check their social media as many as 100 times a day!

Unfortunately, as the AAP hinted, overall social media use, and especially nighttime use, is associated with poorer sleep quality, lower self-esteem, and higher levels of anxiety and depression among 12 to 18-year-olds. Besides that, computer screens and most light bulbs emit blue light, to which your eyes are particularly sensitive simply because it's the type of light most common outdoors during daytime hours. As a result, they can easily disrupt your melatonin production and keep you awake.

Since banning your teen from electronic media is probably not an option, you may want to start by establishing an “electronic curfew” during certain hours, such as sleep time, dinner time and during homework.
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