What's the Cost of Increased Screen Time for Kids?

NBC Universal, Inc.

Whether it’s a tablet, an iPhone, or a computer, a lot is at our disposal. With the pandemic not losing speed and restrictions still holding strong, it’s easy to find yourself idling in front of these device types longer than usual. But longer times in front of the screen doesn’t necessarily bode well for your health.

Melissa Lorang, a mother and child psychiatrist, told us she even sees it in her 3-year-old daughter. She says temper tantrums are expected at this age but says she finds her daughter’s emotional reactions being exacerbated when she’s been on the tablet.

“I feel like it’s even affecting her on days when we don’t let her watch anything, that now she’s just not as good at regulating her emotions and will get more worked up and have a similar sounding meltdown with something completely unrelated,” Lorang said.

Lorang says she carries concern over just how detrimental this prolonged span of time on screens will be on kids once they return to a normal way of life, wondering how they’ll respond to things if life doesn't offer instant gratification like personal devices.

“There’s an addiction component to whether it’s a little bit physical but mostly psychological where they’re really kind of hooked on it and feel a withdrawal and need that sort of dopamine high,” Lorang said.

Jean Twenge, who is a professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, says extra screen time can do more harm than good.

“If you’re on that iPad for more than three hours, then you’re probably gonna see more potential effects for just not being as happy,” Professor Twenge said.

Lorang recommends the American Association of Pediatrics guidelines which suggest limiting your child’s screen time, finding other alternatives to devices, and make what’s on the screen interactive with someone else.

Contact Us