Could you unplug?
We moved into a new home about three weeks ago. Amid the chaos of boxes and a not quite finished remodel job, I hear the laughter of my kids upstairs. I head up to check on them and realize they are “playing nicely.” What is interesting is that we have had no access to TV for three weeks. Could there be a connection between my kids getting along and no TV? What are the results of being unplugged?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV for kids under 2 and less than 2 hours per day of media time for kids older than 2 years of age. Why? Because too much media is associated with aggression, inattention, anxiety, depression, sleep problems and obesity in our kids.
We call it TV head at my house. It is a lazy Saturday morning. The kids lounge in front of the TV for a few hours watching a movie. The next thing I know there is fighting, yelling and disagreement between my children. My son never quite recovers the rest of the day. He is a little “fuzzy headed” and a little grumpy.
Many of my patients have found harmony at home by decreasing media time. My parents have returned with true amazement at the difference in their kids once they have unplugged, especially in the evenings. They have reported healthier and happier kids. A number of my families have decided to unplug for the summer, which in all honesty, is probably the hardest time to do so, especially when it is hot outside and not much to do inside. Enter Mrs. Aubrey Conklin, one of the most fun and down to earth moms I have ever met. I discussed the benefits of decreased media with her at the recent well-child exams for her three children. She is open minded enough to try it, and kind enough to let us join her on this journey.
Watch for Aubrey’s blogs this summer. She will be reporting in on how she and her family are doing cutting back on screen time.
Kim Mangham, M.D., is a Cook Children's pediatrician at 1601 Keller Parkway in Keller, Texas. She earned her medical degree at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. She completed the pediatric residency program at University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. Her interests include breastfeeding education as well as disease and injury prevention. Dr. Mangham is board certified in pediatrics.