Limiting kids' online usage of electronic devices - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Limiting kids' online usage of electronic devices

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(10/29/13) - A whole generation is growing up with the world at their fingertips. Or, more precisely, their cell phone. But all of that screen time has some doctors concerned.

From cyber bullying to obesity to loss of sleep, some pediatricians say the world of computers and cell phones are playing a role. That's leading to a call to put students on an "electronic diet."

It seems kids these days are virtually tied to their cell phones tablets and other electronic media.

"I think it's part of us now. We do it all the time. It's like waking up and using your toothbrush. It's just a part of you, a part of your life," said Grand Blanc High School senior Kiara McDougal.

"It's an every day thing, like daily basis. Even going through school and out of class, you check it before you go to class, after and during class too," says senior Katelyn Broughton.

"Technology these days, we always have it everywhere," said senior Fatima Gakou.

A 2010 report cited by the American Academy of Pediatrics says kids 8-18 years of age spend as much as seven hours a day on electronic devices and media.

Is this electronic overload? Not according to Alvern Lock.

"You can control all of that kind of stuff with your children. You don't let them have all that stuff for all night and all day," he said.

"With my grandson, there is no problem whatsoever. Some other kids, I think maybe they do have problems with doing the wrong thing," said Deborah Cass.

However, there are concerns that so much time "connected" could lead to a "disconnect".

"I have watched even in class, during break time, students will often, rather than talking to one another, they're usually on their phones or on their iPads, iPods or something like that. And I think it has resulted in a breakdown of genuine relationships," said Dr. Lillie McCain, a psychology professor at Mott Community College.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has these media usage guidelines:

.  Limit TV, Computers and Cell phone usage to 2 hours / day, except for online homework.

.  Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom.

.  Set guidelines on what your kids do online and where they go.

As with any piece of technology, it's not necessarily the tool, but how you use it can make all the difference.

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