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Screen time at school and home different, experts say

By Paul Nelson | Posted - Nov 16th, 2013 @ 10:06am

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SALT LAKE CITY — A lot of parents limit the amount of time their children spend on computers or watching TV. But, should they be worried about the amount of screen time they have at school?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents set limits to how much TV and computer time their kids spend. They even recommend setting "screen free zones" in a child's bedroom.

But not all screen time is created equally. Child care experts say parents should look at screen time at school in a different way than they consider screen time at home.

"Half an hour to an hour after school or in the evening is about as much as we really want to see kids have," said Dr. Douglas Goldsmith, Children's Center executive director Dr. Douglas Goldsmith.

Goldsmith says when it is used at school for educational purposes, parents can look at it in a different way than how TVs, tablets, laptops and smartphones are used when the child uses them for recreation at home.

"Children will isolate during screen time. They're just playing the video games, typically, by themselves or they'll be on the computer," he said.

Goldsmith says this isolation can be a real problem.

"Certainly, for childhood, when they're supposed to be out exploring their world and making friends, it can interfere in those activities," Goldsmith said.

He supports the notion of limiting screen time for kids, and parents should turn screens off a couple hours before bedtime.

"Because of the wavelength of light that (a screen) releases, if screen time is being done a couple hours before bed time, that wavelength actually tells the body not to produce melatonin and not to get tired and go to sleep."

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