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American Heart Association warns parents about too much screen time for children

Posted at 5:44 PM, Aug 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-08 20:44:49-04

The American Heart Association (AHA) is warning parents about how much screen time they’re giving their children. 

Child health workers say too much exposure to phones, tablets, computers and TVs is making children inactive, which can lead to health risks such as obesity and heart disease down the road.

One Atascadero father tries to set a good example for his 2-year-old.

"If we are having dinner or what not, all the phones and pads, any device would get put away, that way everybody can interact with one another," said Marshall Sumrall.

It can be difficult to entertain kids in the summer, but getting them outside is a good option.

The San Luis Obispo County Behavioral Health Department says giving children too much access to technology comes with physical and mental health risks such as increased body weight and decreased endorphins, among other things.

"I think it is up to the parent to put those restrictions on what their kids are seeing," said Cassie Ueberrheim, a SLO County Behavioral Health clinician. 

When living in a world driven by technology, moderation is key. 

"I try not to think of media as bad because it is a part of our world and I will have her exposed to it as time goes on because that’s the world she lives in," said Laura Nordaas, a teacher at Wishing Well School in Los Osos.

Wishing Well doesn’t use technology in the classroom and asks parents to limit it at home as well. 

The AHA recommends removing devices from bedrooms and mealtimes and monitoring time spent as well as content when kids are using screens. 

There are several apps that parents can download that will allow them to set time limits on electronic devices.