On November 6, Community Connect was delighted to welcome back guest speaker, pediatrician and mother of three, Datta T. Munshi, M.D. of North Fulton Pediatrics. In an interactive session focused on exploring the healthy use of technology, Dr. Munshi shared what we know to be true—that there are an infinite number of sources and opinions about how much screen time is too much.
Dr. Munshi started the session by walking through the different types of screen time - passive (watching YouTube, shows and movies), interactive (playing games against a virtual opponent) and constructive (coding or building a website for example). She also shared that there is minimal benefit to screen time for children under 18 months, unless it’s interactive, such as communicating with remote family over Facetime. For pre-school through early elementary aged children, she suggested a max of 2 hours, and for teens, she cited 4 hours (including school work and discretionary time) as being ideal.
When considering indicators of screen addition, Dr. Munshi cited when it interferes with daily activities (e.g., getting to school/work on time), when one spends more time in virtual circles/with virtual friends, and when screen time is the main activity that makes a person happy. Other signs include when it causes conflict in the home, changes family dynamics and quality of life, and leads to feelings of agitation when one’s mobile device/phone is not within reach.
Taken further, she shared that excessive screen time is now increasing being linked to adverse physical and mental effects on children, teens and even adults—such as issues with focus, sleep, anxiety and/or depression, obesity, and posture and ergonomics.
The bottom line … parents should create their own family rules and limitations—and should start early, when their children are young. Instituting places in the home that are “screen free zones” (e.g., bedrooms) and setting time limitations also are key. From a social safety perspective, Dr. Munshi recommends only “friending” people you know in real life.
Community Connect extends a big thanks to parents for sharing their stories and tips, and to evening dinner sponsor, Lenny’s Grill & Subs in Cumming.
Be sure to “save the date” for the next Community Connect event. On November 13, we’ll welcome Keith Jennings, vice president of community impact at Jackson Healthcare, who will lead a discussion on “Building Family Traditions Around Service” with a focus on how families can plug in and make a difference in the communities in which they live and work. Dinner will start at 5:30 pm, followed by the evening topic and discussion at 6 pm. Click here to learn more about the session and speaker—and to register for dinner. $5 feeds the entire family, and childcare for ages 3 and up is free!
To view the full calendar of 2019-2020 Community Connect events, visit us here.