Dear Dr. Geek,
My children play video games before school and after school. I have not seen a change in their behavior from playing the games, but always wonder what effect it may have on them. I guess my question is a bit more about how much screen time is too much? Is there even a correct number?
- Working Mother
Dear Working Mother,
Screen time for children and even adults is a large topic constantly being talked about in our society today. It is seen as this type of topic because of the impact that people believe it may have upon children. It is true that as technology increases we become more dependent upon it. This is where a lot of our fears of technology come from, the fact that we are becoming so self-reliant on it throughout the day. This phenomenon is called Technological Determinism. It is a belief that technology becomes a driving force for society. There is also an inherent fear of this technology because of the vastness to which we pursue it relentlessly. This fear is further pushed by Moral Panic fears that it will be the undoing of us all. I believe it is a necessary evil and one of the few ways to continue pushing our human development.
Back to the screen time question. Taking the brief information listed before, the American Academy Of Pediatrics came out with a statement that says "The AAP recommends that parents and caregivers develop a family media plan that takes into account the health, education and entertainment needs of each child as well as the whole family." This is a better advancement of their thinking from their past assertions that screen time was bad for everyone.
I would say that most Psychologists and Neuro specialists would agree that if a child is spending 8+ hours on any type of activity it may be prudent to inquire more about what the activity is providing for the individual. Gaming and screen time can be quite useful in educational and emotional learning. I would suggest that since we do not have a definite number of what is good and bad that you, as the mother, take into consideration a plan that works for you an your family. If you see behaviors that are concerning to you then that may be a sign that there may be too much of one thing.
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Dr. Anthony Bean is a Licensed Psychologist in Fort Worth, Texas specializing in video games, therapy, geekiness, and virtual worlds. He is considered an expert in this growing field and has been published extensively in the discipline. At Bean Psychological Services, he works with children, adolescents, and adults who play video games and their families to better understand the immersive effects video games have upon the individual and resulting family dynamics. He is active and available on Twitter as @videogamedoc.
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Dr. Anthony Bean is a Licensed Psychologist in Fort Worth, Texas specializing in video games, therapy, geekiness, and virtual worlds.