Should screen time limits change based on a Special Needs?

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Should screen time limits change based on a Special Needs?

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It's hard to say whether there's a healthy amount of screen time kids should be exposed to, because all screen time isn't bad screen time. Kids are using technology now in schools more than they ever used it before, so you really have to be good at it. It's a too of education that kids have to be skilled at. The real question is whether the use of screen time, that's hand held games or video games on a computer screen or watching TV, whether the amount of time that a child spends in front of a TV takes them away from other things that are as valuable or more valuable than the screen time, social interaction with other kids, playing with other kids. A lot of people think that kids with ADHD spend a lot of time playing these games because they're really good at them. In my clinical practice, I used to play video games on a screen as a way to get to know how kids handle a complex environment. And what's really interesting was some of the kids would come into my office, and they'd look at the scores of the kids who had played before, and they'd wipe out the scores because they wanted to be the best. And the reason that was I discovered that these kids were really not very good at the video games. They played them a lot. But what I started to realize was they weren't playing them with other kids. They weren't doing interactive video games, because their impulsive, they're distractible, and they're hooked on these games. They don't think about the interaction that's involved in playing games with another person. So they're solo players. So when parents say, I let my child do this because he's really good at it. He may really like it, but he may not be really good at it. Too much time in front of a screen numbers the brain. I may be from the old school on this, but I think that you need to have a variety of things going on in your life to be healthy and to have a healthy brain. Too much time spent in front of things that require your entire focus to be on something that's not really productive in terms of its transfer to school, that to me is not appropriate. I think kids are too often allowed to stay in these games because they stay busy. They may make it easier for parents to go get things done that they need to get things done. But that's not a good reason to have a kid plugged into technology. A good reason to have a kid plugged into technology is when the skills that he or she is learning in technology is helping his brain grow and allowing that skill to transfer into the day to day work in schools. That to me would be an important criteria to apply to this question.

See Jerome Schultz, PhD's video on Should screen time limits change based on a Special Needs?...

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Jerome Schultz, PhD

Clinical Neuropsychologist

Dr. Jerome (Jerry) Schultz is a former middle school special education teacher. He is currently in private practice as a clinical neuropsychologist and is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School in the Department of Psychiatry.  For over three decades, he has specialized in the neuropsychological assessment and treatment of children with learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other special needs. He was on the faculty of Lesley University in Cambridge MA for almost 30 years, and served there as the Founding Director of a diagnostic clinic called the Learning Lab. Before returning to private practice, Dr. Schultz served as the Co-Director of the Center for Child and Adolescent Development at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Teaching Hospital.

Dr. Schultz received both his undergraduate and Master’s degree from The Ohio State University and holds a Ph.D. from Boston College. He has completed postdoctoral fellowships in both clinical psychology and pediatric neuropsychology. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of a journal called Academic Psychiatry, and is on the Professional Advisory Boards of a website called Inside ADHD.com, and the Learning Disabilities Association of America.

In addition to his clinical and educational work, Dr. Schultz serves as an international consultant on issues related to the neuropsychology and appropriate education of children and young adults with ADHD & LD and other special needs. In his current role as neuropsychological consultant to several large school districts in the Boston area, he is on the ground, in schools and working with kids and their teachers several days each week.

Dr. Schultz created an award-winning video called “Einstein and Me” about living successfully with a learning disability, and has written extensively about children with learning, behavioral and emotional challenges. He has a special education and psychology blog on the Huffington Post. His book, called Nowhere to Hide: Why Kids with ADHD and LD Hate School and What We Can Do About It, (Jossey-Bass/Wiley) which examines the role of stress in learning, has received international acclaim.

 

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