Abilene professor says too much screen time for kids can be detrimental to learning development

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Many children today spend their idle time staring at screens and not at the sky.   

Studies show that the combination of high screen time and low green time may affect their development and well being. 

Children of all ages in Abilene can enjoy outdoor fun at Red Bud Park.

“I love to bring them to the park because they can run out their energy,” says Whitney Pett, Abilene mother of two.  

For parents who need a break from their kids, handing over a touchscreen device can be an easy solution, but Pett says most of the time she looks for ways to go outside, limiting the amount of time her kids spend in front of a screen.

“It’s mostly when I have tasks to do around the house that I’ll tell them to go turn on the TV because I don’t have time to deal with everything all at once,” says Pett.  

Abilene mom of three Jessica Jacob says, “It’s about balance, I think for me, so, if there’s a moment where it’s like, my sanity needs saving and I’ll be a better mom in 20 minutes if I can just turn on a 20-minute show and let them calm down.”    

Jacob says she feels fortunate to live out in the country because she can easily send the kids outside if they do get too rowdy. 

“Our limit is in the car if we go on a long car ride, they can have it, or if we’re waiting in a doctor’s office,” Jacob says.  

Renee Collins, professor of education at Hardin-Simmons University, says psychological outcomes among children and adolescents can improve with a healthy balance.  

“The screen time, if it’s too much, can be detrimental to language development as well as critical thinking. It can even lead into other areas of academics because we’re having children sit and be very passive,” says Collins.

According to Landmark National Institutes of Health, studies show children who spend more than two hours a day on screen-time activities scored lower on language and thinking tests, which is why Pett plans to keep her boys outdoors as often as she can.

Experts recommend getting your children up and moving, if possible, as the Key City offers plenty of outside activities for children, such as splash-pads and summer camps to keep your kids enjoying the great outdoors. 

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