Survey: Parents not concerned with kids' screen time

6:58 AM, Jun 5, 2013   |    comments
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EAGAN, Minn. - A new study out of Northwestern University showed that parents are not concerned about their children's media usage.

That reaction is a bit concerning to some experts.

At Edina's Edinborough Park, Cassie Neu was playing with her 2-year-old and 4-year-old.

She said play time is an important part of a child's life so she wants her kids to be active and not use much media.

"I chose to kind of limit screen time almost to nothing," she said.

Researchers in the study asked more than 2,300 parents with kids age 8 and younger about media use, including TV's, computers and mobile devices.

They found 78 percent of the parents said their children's media use is not a source of family conflict.

Additionally, they said 59 percent were not worried about their kids becoming addicted.

"The results to me are not surprising," said Dr. Peter Toensing, a pediatrician at Fairview Clinic in Eagan.

He said he hears similar responses from parents, but he said many studies show that too much screen time can have a negative impact on academic achievement, attention deficit and physical health.

"The hard thing here is the effects are so far downstream, the cause and effect is not something that people would experience on a daily basis," Toensing said.

Toensing does say that there are shows and games that are educational and beneficial, but many are not. He said parents should limit screen time to two hours and kids younger than two should not being using media devices.

The survey did show something that may surprise some. Overall parents do not use mobile devices to keep their children quiet. They turn to toys and activities for that.

The survey also found that parents are big role models when it comes to media usages. It showed that the more that parents spent time in front of a screen, the more their children did as well.

Parent Mike Youngren said he lets his 5-year-old play on his iPad.

"He does occasionally. Not very often. There are very few games on mine," Youngren said.

He continued, it's usually just a treat, "because there's so much more that they need to do and learn."

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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