The Case in Favor of Screen Time for Kids

Parents explain why they give their kids a free-range policy on screen time.
5:21 | 09/25/15

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Transcript for The Case in Favor of Screen Time for Kids
Now to our series on kids and screen time this morning. A question so many parents face, how much screen time is okay if any. A new poll finds 63% of moms and dads turn to tablets to distract their children when they're too busy to parent but some do it even when they're not. Becky Worley met with one mom who makes the case in favor of screen time. Reporter: Handing a screen to your kid, what do you feel? For many it's a sense of guilt. But not all parents feel that way. What's that? Peekaboo. Reporter: Mia Kim has a free rein policy on screen time. Her son can use it whenever he wants. We met him four years ago as a toddler. Really he does have a head start. Reporter: He had his own iPad with 70 apps, fast forward and he is 5 starting kindergarten. I think he would probably already identify as a geek iPad. Has his own phone. Reporter: She monitors what hechildren's Research Hos we won't stop until no child dies from cancer. This September, please join St. Jude in our fight to end childhood cancer. Come B tacko "Gma" and ti "Heat index" and this morning's hot button. That serious health scare for Kim zolciak hit by a mini stroke after returning from this "Dancing with the stars" and ABC's Abbie Boudreau has the story. Reporter: This morning reality star Kim zolciak Biermann says she suffered what she called a men workshop says there is an opportunity to teach through devices. Screens are not bad. Screens are tools. The question is, what content is being delivered through a screen? Reporter: And while content clearly matter, so does time. For kids 3 to 18 the recommendation is no more than two hours a day. But a 201 study found kids eight to tenaveraged eight hours in front of a screen. When it comes to toddler, the American academy of pediatrics says no screens for kids under 2. How do you counter that? If a parent is plopping them in front of a TV screen they're using it as a baby-sitter. Reporter: Kids like screens and parents are deeply conflicted. For "Good morning America," Becky Worley, ABC news, new York. Dr. Richard Besser joins us now. Let's dive in because there's really good questions here. First up, Karen write, what's the best way to convince a toddler to stop using a phone/tablet and play without causing anger or a meltdown? Yeah, there are a lot of questions around that. Well, you know, you're going to have to deal with the meltdown. That's just the way it is. Setting limits isn't easy whether you're telling a child when they have to go to bed or take a bath, it's what parenting is about and if all the care givers are consistent, right, then over time the meltdowns go away and they learn to deal with conflict and frustration. You're the parent and have to set the limit. Consistency. Exactly. Once you give in you get in trouble. Janet writes I'm worried that my 2-year-old is hurting her eyes by using my phone to watch her shows/apps. How will I know for sure? Do we know the impact. We do and the good news is that the screen time, the time you spend on screens does not damage your eyes. You -- your eyes may get tired but doesn't damage them. There is a suggestion, though, if you're not getting enough sunlight that can increase the chances of you being nearsighted. Putting it away and going out in the sun to play works wonders. Put it down, go outside. Old-fashioned thing called playing outside. Jason writes this, I have a 3-year-old boy, a 5-year-old girl who only want to be on devices. How much time should I allow them to be on them? Yeah, so the academy of pediatrics said under 2, no time. Your brain is developing very rapidly. Above that, two hours a day, all screens combined so TV, computer, devices, and as you were saying yesterday, if you're on it all day long, if you're not modeling that behavior there's though way you can limit your child to two hours. 3 and 5-year-olds. I'm like, well, he didn't go to the store to buy the apps so -- Exactly. How do I get hem to stop playing this war game. Don't buy it for them in the first place. What are some of your recommendations? Everything in moderation. There was a recent survey that said 63% of parents use this as a pacifier. You don't want to do that. Kids need to learn how to deal with boredom. When you're picking apps, I like apps that aren't about tapping and swiping. This is a simple drawing app and when children have this, it's like a palette and they can change the colors and they can draw things, those kind of apps are really creative and apps where you're Reading a book and extends you into the story with other kind of activities involved in that, those are really good. Parents are doing the best they can. Th plays but doesn't limit screen time. He might play mine craft for half hour in the Reporter: She says some days his screen usage is three or our hours. Ptredianicia has pushed back.

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