Long-term effects of screen time for kids

In a story first reported by the New York Times, as screen time has skyrocketed amid the pandemic, parents fear digital withdrawal symptoms when COVID-19 is over.
4:49 | 01/18/21

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Transcript for Long-term effects of screen time for kids
Now on our "Gma" cover story, a parenting alert about soaring screen time for children and teens during this pandemic. It's a story we first saw in "The New York Times." Becky Worley is back with what parents can do. Good morning again, Becky. Reporter: Good morning, robin. Screen time has gone through the roof. And parents are asking that very question -- what can we do? Like many kids, 14-year-old James of Boulder, Colorado, used to have an active schedule of basketball, piano and biking is now all-in on his devices. I started my Xbox way more and turned to my phone to communicate with my friends. Reporter: But kids hit a breaking point when his dad realized how much time was being spent just playing one device. One week ux it was literally 40 hours. It hit me that this is like a full-time job. Didn't feel like 40 hours, playing with my friends the whole time. Reporter: So limits were placed. The screen time monitoring application releasing usage has doubled than a year ago. YouTube, 97 minutes a day. And roblox, now reporting over 31 million players, explosive growth, up 82% since last year. They're rethinking what they can do in this difficult time. All steps until normal life resume and early in the pandemic, I repeatedly urged parents not to be undully concerned about their kids' use of screen. It's almost a year. Start now to try to re-introduce some level of guardrails around children's media use. Reporter: You should know, controls for iPhones and android phones have gotten much better and easier to use. Two things, you can set up a bedtime when your child's devices will stop connecting to the internet and the very least put a filter. Good tips. We're joined now by parenting E pert Rachel Simmons, always good to see you. What are the signs that parents should look out for, my kid is heading down the wrong path here. I mean, I don't know a single family that's not struggling with this challenge right now. When it's becoming a problem, the symptoms look like this -- not engaging in other activities, all they want to do is the screen. They're having trouble sleeping because they're thinking about getting back online. They're not connecting with pothers. They think that being online with friends is the best way to connect and when you take the tech away, this is really important, they get so you see a side of them you're not used to seeing. So let me ask you this, we're in the midst of a pandemic, how can parents avoid this becoming a long-term issue? Right, so let's be realistic about this, one thing you can do is make a list with your child of things that they can do when they're not on screen. Post that list publicly, point them to it as much as you can. Reward them if they do it and try to stay consistent. Right, if you're not consistent they'll come in for the kill and try to take advantage. Stay consistent and focus on educational media. Maybe there's a word game they can play. Watch a documentary. Rachel, it seems like this might be a bit harder if your child is older or if you're dealing with a teen and managing all this. For sure, don't try to micromanage your teen out of social media. Talk to them frankly about the research. Too much social media means damaged mental health potentially, limited focus on your school work, lot of distraction. Talk to them realistically about what ITIs focus on healthy eating, being able to exercise, helping out around the house, if they can check those boxes it's okay to give them screen time. We're focusing on balance. Not trying to take it away for ever. Rachel, thanks so much. Thanks, robin. Maybe use that time to write

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