The Mental Health Effects of Too Much Screen Time for Kids

Published by Internet Addiction Center on

Have you ever considered sending your child for evaluation for screen addiction? If so, you are definitely not alone. Video games, smartphone apps, movies, youtube videos, tablets, and computers are commonly and frequently used. There does come a point where the use of these technologies becomes problematic, and can sometimes even be classified as an addiction.

Excessive screen time can negatively impact a child’s mental health, which is why the American Academy of Pediatrics has set recommendations and guidelines for screen time. A study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children who spend more than two hours a day in front of a screen have an increased risk of developing mental health and behavioral issues.

As some young children age and become teens, too much screen time can lead to indifference, impulsiveness, aggression, and anger. In fact, a 2010 study, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that children and teens who spend 50 hours or more a week engaging in screen time may suffer ill effects (i.e. aggressive behaviors, poor grades, social withdrawal, anger and rage, and emotional and physical decline). This is especially true, if the screen time includes violence or other inappropriate content.

Another study found that boys who own game systems experienced more learning problems and had noticeably lower reading and writing grades than boys who do not own game systems. Children who spend long hours staring at screens are more likely to neglect extracurricular activities, time with friends and family, studying, and/or completing assignments. Also, results suggest that teens who spend long hours playing violent video games, and watching graphic shows and movies are more likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors, both at home and at school.

If you are concerned about your child’s screen time and seeking help or advice on how to manage screen time, video game use, or phone/internet use, please contact us to set up a time to discuss your concerns. We can evaluate the issues and create a plan that will help your child and family thrive.

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