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Home News Screen Time a Big Time Problem
David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

Screen Time a Big Time Problem

August 26, 2015 - Public Relations - Information

Did you know there was a time in history – I think it was called the Dark Ages – in which people walked around without a phone? Seriously. They would travel great distances, like around the world, without a phone. Back then they didn’t have Facebook, Google Maps, or ESPN apps either. I don’t know how they did it.

Ok, so these so called Dark Ages were the early 1990s…and they weren’t really the Dark Ages. The real Dark Ages were hundreds of years ago after the fall of the Roman Empire. I’m just trying to make the point – we can’t go anywhere or do anything without having to fight the urge for screen time.

Screen time is defined by the US- Department of Health and Human Services as the use of television screens, computer monitors, and even our beloved smartphones that we use for making calls, checking email, listening to music, watching TV, and playing video games on the go.

Health experts say screen time at home should be limited to two hours or less a day, and most of us are blowing it. I know I am, working in an office, sitting at a computer typing these very words.

Any health expert will tell you the time we spend in front of the screen, unless it's work‐ or homeworkrelated, could be better spent being more physically active. Technology hasn’t done many favors when it comes to exercise, but we can not only help ourselves, but our children too with a few changes of habit.

As a parent or caregiver, we can set a good example for our kids and set rules that limit their computer time, TV watching, and video game playing to reduce how much time they spend in front of a screen. Research by the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation shows that setting rules about media use is hard for many parents.

Children ages eight to 18 spend the following amount of time in front of the screen each day:

  • Approximately 7.5 hours using entertainment media
  • Approximately 4.5 hours watching TV
  • Approximately 1.5 hours on the computer
  • Over an hour playing video games

These data lie in stark contrast to the 25 minutes per day that children spend reading books.

Yikes! Right?

The New Mexico Department of Health’s Healthy Kids Healthy Communities program recognizes the importance of reducing screen time. The number two in its HKNM 5-2-1-0 Challenge calls for limiting screen time to just two hours per day.

The HKNM 5-2-1-0 Challenge is used in in public schools in Las Cruces and many others statewide encouraging 3rd grade students across the state to not just trim screen time to 2 hours a day but also eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day, get at least 1 hour of physical activity and drink lots of H2O every day for 21 consecutive days.

And it works!  The HKNM 5-2-1-0 Challenge is credited in part for the declining obesity rates in New Mexico 3rd graders over the last several years.

So what action can parents take to reduce their children’s screen time? The National Institute of Health has some tips:

  • Agree to limit screen time to no more than two hours a day.
  • Don’t put a TV in your child’s bedroom.
  • Turn screen time into active time, by doing simple exercises during commercial breaks.
  • Encourage every family member to think of fun activities to keep moving, such as biking to school events or training together for a charity walk.

For free information on the HKNM 5-2-1-0 Challenge, including more tips to help reduce screen time in your home visit the Healthy Kids Healthy Communities webpage.

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.

Versión en Español

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Tiempo en Pantalla un Gran Problema de Nuestro Tiempo