WATCH: Are teens guilty of too much screen time?

Posted at 5:45 AM, Jul 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-12 06:45:49-04

Many parents worry if their child is spending too much time behind a computer. 

Questions race through their heads like, “Is my child missing out on their life, spending so much time online?”  They wonder what the affect all this social media has on their child’s development.

In the digital age, clear cut answers are hard to come by. That’s one reason filmmaker and mother Delaney Ruston, M.D., wanted to make the documentary “Screenagers.”

"I was feeling really out of control with how much time my kids were spending on screens," explained Ruston.

In “Screenagers” she questions what age she should get her daughter a smartphone.

That's a topic many parents in Kansas and Missouri ask themselves as well.

“The social media is a real issue,” said Lori Mosier.

She explained she sees her middle school daughter, Jessica Mosier, on her phone.

“I’ll be on my Snapchat, checking it constantly,” reiterated Jessica.

Mosier also uses a Chromebook at school, again, keeping her eyes on a screen.

On average, Americans spend 6.5 hours glued to a screen a day, according to Ruston.

Ruston tackled the issue head on and brings up some of the problems. 

“It can damage a young girl’s self-esteem. Video game apps can affect boys. We have to really think about the fact 80 percent of games have violent content. We do know it can increase aggression in some of these young men,” explained Ruston.

She said parents need to set the rules.

"If someone wants to get their child a smart phone, they should also get really clear parameters on how much kids will be allowed on the devices,” said Ruston.

Mosier said in their house how much time her daughter can spend on her phone or behind a computer has to do with the time of year and what all she has going on in the day.

"The whole social media thing is a great big draw. She's more likely to do that than other activities," said Mosier.

In the summer she said her daughter still dances regularly and goes swimming. However, even Jessica Mosier worries if she is living too much of her life behind the screen.

"I'm afraid of missing out on little pieces of growing up. Things like watching my family move forward, and if we're on vacation and I'm missing pretty sites because I’m on my phone,” said Jessica.

If parents want to monitor their child’s cell phone use, they may want to investigate digital monitoring devices.

Apps like Our Pact can actually lock your child out of their social media until their homework is done.

There will be a showing of the documentary “Screenagers” at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Manhattan, Kansas, on August 26.


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