How Much Screen Time Is Too Much Screen Time?

It seems new technology is like a tidal wave. Something newer, faster, shinier and more powerful just keeps pushing what was last year’s new gadget out of its way.

Sixty years ago, people warned children not to sit close to the tv. Staring at a television screen would “ruin” their eyes. While there is no concrete proof to the above assertions, today’s technology is spawning problems of its own.

“While there is nothing wrong with using your phone to stay connected with family and friends, a sign that the attachment is unhealthy is when you can’t bear to be without your phone for small increments of time,” says neurologist Dr. Victor Rosenfeld, of SouthCoast Health in Savannah, GA. Dr. Rosenfeld went on to say that the pings your phone emits with every new message or e-mail releases dopamine in the brain – the powerful pleasure chemical that can be addictive. This same chemical is released by powerful addictive drugs such as cocaine.

It all comes down to balance. If you must check your phone every 30 minutes or less, there’s a name for it: nomophobia, the fear of not having your mobile phone. According to research presented by the Radiological Society of North America, approximately 46 percent of Americans suffer from this phobia. Teenagers seem to be the most susceptible.

“On the face of it, technology appears to create global network bringing people together. But in fact, this replaces real-life communication and ends in social isolation,” according to “Moreover, strong social bonds are replaced with a number of shallow ‘friends’ in social networks.”

Technology is not all bad, and parents should not fear their children’s use of technology. It boils down to being parental and remaining aware of how much time your children spend on-line and balancing that with physical and social interaction.

Dr. William E. Webb of Southcoast Health,  recommends: “Children under two years old don’t need screen time. Even doing educational apps and e-books are considered inferior to physically reading a book.” And, “The American Academy of Pediatrics has changed some recommendations from less than two hours a day of screen time to trying to get at least two hours a day of no screen time. Adults and children are constantly using a screen throughout the day for work or school. We acknowledge that it is a part of life now, but we need to carve out time away from technology.”

Go to or call 912.691.3600 or 912.527.5352

Ways to Reduce Your Child's Screentime

Get outside and hit the playground. Many studies tout the benefits of physical play for children. Just playing on the playground encourages children to interact with their peers, share, and use teamwork and problem-solving skills. “With the increased use of technology, children are missing out on normal social cues learned through play,” notes Dr. William Webb of SouthCoast Health Pediatrics in Richmond Hill, Georgia.


Subscribe now to the print edition or get instant access to our interactive digital edition.