Today’s parents OK with media overload, study finds
A new study has revealed that the days of parents limiting their kids’ TV, computer and digital time may be behind us. According to the study released yesterday, parents are not reporting their children’s media usage is causing them concern.
In fact, the study revealed that parents of younger children “do not express much concern about their children’s media use.” Fifty-five percent of the parents surveyed revealed that they are either “not too” or “not at all” concerned about their child’s media usage.
While parents aren’t reporting that they’re concerned about their children’s use of digital media, traditional sources of entertainment such as books, toys and other activities remain go-to sources for children. For example, when a child is upset, the study showed that rather than giving the child an iPad or turning on the TV, the majority of parents are reaching for a toy or activity to calm the child.
Still, the study reveals that half of the families surveyed have three or more TVs in the house, and about a third of families have TVs in their children’s bedrooms.
“This is concerning to me as a parent and a pediatrician,” says Dr. Cheryl Donovan-Hunt, a pediatrician with Advocate Medical Group. “Parents often come seeking advice on why children have as many sleep issues as adults, and what to do for them. I think there needs to be an increased responsibility as parents with all of the educational and entertainment benefits of new media.”
Despite the burgeoning new media available to families, the majority (69 percent) of the parents in the study reported that new mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones have not made parenting any easier.
Dr. Donovan-Hunt understands the pervasiveness of family media usage, but still makes the recommendation, “In our practice, as physicians, we still advocate a maximum of 1 to 2 hours of total screen time per day. If kids are busy with physical activity, athletics, age-appropriate homework and family time, they shouldn’t have much more available time for screen time in a healthy fashion.”
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