Children’s doctors on excess time online

Children’s doctor in Gastonia, NC

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Children’s doctors in Gastonia, NC and elsewhere are worried about the amount of time children are spending online. Although sitting around anywhere for long enough, whether in front of the TV or in front of a computer or phone, is not good for anyone’s health or physical development, the main concern is the psychological effects of prolonged Internet use and social media.

Children need to learn to socialize face to face, so they can learn to recognize all the social cues that never show up in online communication. (Think how many otherwise smart people lose the ability to recognize sarcasm when they go online.) They also need more time for reading, sleeping and physical activity.

Governments in other countries are taking notice. Recently the UK’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, announced plans to issue a guide for parents on what should be considered healthy limits for children’s Internet use and social media use. The guidelines haven’t come out yet, but according to Hancock, one of the suggestions is probably going to be turning off phones before going to bed, so that children don’t wake up at night to check their messages. Also in the UK, 70 percent of people aged 14 to 24 supported a pop-up that would alert social media users when they’re spending too much time, and 56 percent claimed a willingness to quit social media entirely.

Recommendations from children’s doctors

If your child doesn’t already have a TV, video game system or computer with Internet access in his or her room, don’t put one there. A 2017 study by Iowa State University found that children who had TV or video game systems in their room were less likely to do well in school, and were at greater risk of obesity and addiction to video games. A computer that has to be shared with the family, or used where the rest of the family can see it, is harder to get addicted to.

If your child already has one, rather than take it away you should teach him or her how to use it responsibly. Talk to your children about responsible use of TV, games and computers, and make sure you’re using them responsibly yourself — children can always spot hypocrisy.

A children’s doctor in Gastonia, NC

Gastonia Pediatric Associates is a children’s clinic which is conveniently located west of Charlotte, NC. It is one of the first medical practices for children in the Gastonia area. This clinic has served three generations of families with personalized care and has personnel ready to offer medical advice for parents 24 hours a day. Its staff includes three physicians and three nursing staff. Gastonia Pediatrics is owned and directed by its own physicians. If you need a children’s doctor, call today.