Social media has become part of the average person’s life, but doctors are saying that limiting the amount of time children are allowed to use social media is the optimal approach with regard to its usage by the young. According to a new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should allow their children and teens to access social media and entertainment websites for two hours or less each day.
The Associated Press reported (via Yahoo News) Oct. 28 that the organization advises against allowing smartphones and laptops (or any other Internet-accessing device) into the bedrooms of children. The policy paper, which cited various studies and profiled several online bullying cases, suggested that the unrestricted access to various media is a recipe for potentially serious consequences. The new policy pointed out that such media-centric (read: Internet) permissiveness has been been linked to violence, cyberbullying, Type 2 diabetes, a range of school-related problems, general obesity, lack of sleep and many other problems.
The the American Academy of Pediatrics new policy, it is suggested that parents curb Internet, i. e. social media, usage to two hours or less each day. This would mean keeping little Johnny or little Jane off the computer (cell phone, iPad) and limiting the amount of time they spend on social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, and other entertainment sites (such as YouTube).
Before the new policy is dismissed as alarmist, it should be pointed out that studies have long pointed to addictive behavior being exhibited by excessive exposure to media formats, from video games to movies and television shows. In 2009, a study by researchers at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health and indicated that extensive Internet usage could lead to violent behavior. That same year, researchers at Brigham Young University in Utah found that obsessive playing of video games and accessing the Internet was linked to undesirable behavior and poor relationship maintenance, publishing their findings in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. However, using the Internet more for study purposes was linked to more positive behavior patterns.
And as the Los Angeles Times reported in Oct. 2012, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business conducted a study in Germany and found that the temptation to tweet or post a Facebook status update was stronger than the urge to have sex or smoke a cigarette.
Taking all that into consideration, limiting your teens and younger kids to two hours or less making social media rounds doesn’t sound so draconian, now does it?