Kids and Media Use

Do you worry that your kids are spending too much time on their media devices?

If so, you’re not alone. Some child development experts fear that kids are using so much media that it’s interfering with their mental, physical and emotional development.

Many pre-school kids are said to not be getting the time for creative play and problem-solving that their brains need to develop.

“What young children need is hands-on learning, exploring their environment and getting out a book and looking at it and talking about it,” said Kelly Henchel, M.D., chief of Carilion Children’s Pediatric Medicine—Jefferson and Franklin Clinics.  

In older children, too much screen time has been linked to obesity, emotional problems, hyperactivity, poor grades and other difficulties.

Then there’s the dark side of the Internet: One in seven kids is reported to get a sexual solicitation online. But many parents have no idea which sites their children visit, and they don’t know the passwords to their social media or email accounts.

“Parents need to know what their kids are doing online,” said Brooks Michael, a Carilion Children’s adolescent health educator. “Parents have to know about the apps, learn about the apps, get the apps. My son just got Instagram, so I just got Instagram.” 

We explore these issues in our Carilion Clinic Living magazine, available online.