Screen Time and Devices: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Screen Time and Devices: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 
Presented by Ruth Milanaik, DO at Cohen Children's Medical Center

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Minimize Physical Risks:

  • For every hour of continuous screen time, children should take a 10-15 minute break
  • Time outdoors is the only known protective factor against nearsightedness (but make sure they don't bring their devices outside!)
  • Blue light can interrupt sleep patterns.  Avoid screen time at least one hour before bedtime and adjust the screen (either through settings or by downloading an app) to minimize blue light output during night time.
  • Try to maintain a correct sitting posture and avoid twisting your spine or craning your neck.
  • Get up and move every hour to minimize the development of blood clots in the legs.

Free Educational Resources:

  • Khan Academy: A website that offers step-by-step educational videos on academic topics and provides practice problems
  • Quizlet: A service that allows you to create and utilize other's flashcards
  • Google Docs: A service where you can work on documents, slideshows, and spreadsheets simultaneously with other users.

Useful Settings and Apps:

  • Find my iPhone/Device: Allows you to track the location of specific devices.  Perfect for keeping an eye on your loved one's whereabouts and locating lost electronics.
  • Turn off Notifications: Go to Settings and then Notifications and turn off all notifications, banners, and badges on apps that aren't crucial for communication or other important functions (e.g. keeping track of blood sugar levels).
  • Many platforms utilize auto-play (automatically starting the next video), but in some cases, this feature can be turned off.
  • iOS Screen time/Android  Digital Wellbeing": These options aid in reducing/tracking screen time. (Features below are iOS specific)
    • Block specific apps during certain times of day
    • Introduce daily, app-specific time limits
    • Protect these settings with a passcode
    • Receive weekly reports breaking down screen time usage

F.lux: Used to reduce the emission of blue light during nighttime

Thrive: Android only, it allows you to set boundaries on your phone restricting potentially distracting features.

NoMoRoBo: Blocks spam and calls from telemarketers

Distraction-Free YouTube: A Chrome extension service that hides YouTube's recommended videos, but note, it does not automatically turn off auto-play.

Hoaxes, Headlines, and Bad Actors:

  • Be careful of just reading headlines or automatically believing reports of dangerous challenges and content.
  • That being said, there are bad actors aiming and succeeding at creating inappropriate content for children to find.
  • As a parent, it is your job to be present and supervise what and who your child engages with online.
  • Helpful tip: Have your child watch YouTube videos/play videos games in a common area on a large screen without headphones.
    • Be careful of who your child is playing with online, but encourage them to play with family and friends.