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Kids and Screen Time: How Much is Too Much?

Updated: 04/10/2014 10:35 PM
Created: 04/10/2014 9:22 PM WDIO.com
By: Maarja Anderson

Many of us are surrounded by screens. Televisions, computers, smart phones, and tablets are constantly changing the way we do things, including how we raise our children.

The United Way of Greater Duluth brought in an expert Thursday to meet with educators and parents to help explain how technology is changing childhood.

Erin Walsh is the founder and owner of Mind Positive Parenting. She has dedicated her work to figuring out how we live well in a world dominated by ever-changing technology.

"If you blink it will change. Every time you think you have the latest device one comes out six months later that kind of blows that one out of the water, so it can feel very dizzying for parents and leave parents and caregivers feeling breathless," Walsh explained.

Jenni Sternberg is a mother of two. She said computer and TV time is constant battle in her house.

"We have a daughter who is almost seven and it's starting to be more of an issue. My husband and I have both gotten tablets in the last few months and it's such an easy thing to let her play with," said Sternberg.

But she said she knows there needs to be guidelines, so she went to the seminar looking for help. Laura Greensmith, a maternal child public health nurse, came for the same reason.

"One thing I really liked about the training is that she explained television and media is not all good or all bad, but it is powerful," Greensmith said.

Walsh explained technology should be used to integrate into activities, not replace them.

Here are a few of her tips:

  1. Modeling

"If we are always connected to our devices as parents it sends a strong message to our kids, so are we modeling healthy technology use?" asked Walsh.

     2. Create strong limits and consequences for screen time.

     3. Take an interest in your child's digital lives. Use technology together.

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