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Your Healthy Family: Scrolling social media could impact child's attention span

Posted at 7:25 AM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 07:25:39-04

Many kids spend hours a day scrolling through video after video on social media. New reports show that behavior could actually be harming their attention span.

“The impact of screens is certainly profound because what happens with screens is, attention is taken away from face-to-face interactions and it’s given over to a device," Dr. Michael Manos, a Pediatric Psychologist with Cleveland Clinic Children's, said.

He said regular scrolling through videos on social media can make it harder for kids to concentrate in class or finish an assignment they find boring — at least in the short term. Dr. Manos said the best way for parents to help prevent that with their own children is to limit screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics says kids under four should have no more than one hour of screen time a day. Older kids should have no more than two.

“Limiting access is certainly the only way that I know of. All the conversations and lecturing of a child is not going to do a thing because the captivation of screens is far more powerful than anything a parent is going to say," Dr. Manos said.

If kids are going to be using screens, Dr. Manos said parents should do it with them. He said you can always talk to a professional if your child is throwing tantrums when you take away their phones or tablets, and said to try replacing that screen time with another activity your child loves.

As of right now, there’s no concrete evidence that shows there are long term impacts of regular scrolling through videos on social media.