A neurologist's view on screen time for children

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A neurologist's view on screen time for children

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How does a child neurologist feel about television and screen time? Well the American Academy of Pediatrics, a very conservative group of doctors, has suggested that children under 2 years of age have absolutely no screen time, including passive screen time. Passive screen time is defined by a parent watching an adult program with a child in the room. Even though the parent feels that the child is not watching that program, the child is actually exposed to television. Developmental pediatricians have actually extended those guidelines a little bit. We feel that a child shouldn't watch television at all until they're able to talk about what's going on on TV. This usually occurs at about 3 years of age. Teenagers should also have their TV time limited. A very important study has come out that has shown that teenagers who watch 2 or more hours of television per day have higher rates of mood disorders such as depression and sleep problems. If you think about television or screen time with respect to certain diagnoses, if a child has autism for example, I would recommend limiting or possibly eliminating screen time altogether if possibly. Even outside of the 3-year window, if the child has not developed language. This is because a young child or a child with autism is still learning how the world works with respect to joint attention, back and forth interaction between people. When any person interacts with a child, there are subtle verbal and non-verbal cues that let that child know about communication that's going on with your gestures, with your facial expressions. The television doesn't know about what the child has done, so it's sending a different kind of message to that child's brain. Of course, an older child is able to differentiate that this is not reality. But if a very young child might not know the difference between what they're seeing on the screen and what reality really is.

Watch Video: A neurologist's view on screen time for children by Jane Tavyev Asher, MD, ...

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Jane Tavyev Asher, MD

Division of Child Neurology - Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Jane Tavyev Asher is a board certified Child Neurologist and Director of the Division of Child Neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.  Upon attaining her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine, she completed residency/ fellowship training in Child Neurology and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at Baylor College of Medicine/ Texas Children’s Hospital, where her clinical training focused on behavioral neurology, specializing in autism and other developmental disorders, and her research focused on epigenetic factors in autism.  She currently maintains a clinical practice at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where she sees patients with a variety of neurologic conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, developmental delay, ADHD, learning disabilities, tics, headaches, and cognitive/ behavioral management in neuromuscular disorders.  She holds an academic/ research appointment as Assistant Professor at UCLA in the Departments of Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.  Her current research interest remains in the area of autism.  Dr. Tavyev Asher is proud to contribute to the training of the next generation of physicians including those specializing in Pediatrics, Child Psychiatry, and Child and Adult Neurology, and she enjoys giving talks on various neurologic topics locally and nationally.  She is a member of the Child Neurology Society, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UCLA CART (Center for Autism Research and Treatment), and The Help Group-UCLA Autism Research Alliance.  She also serves on the Advisory Board of Healthy Child Healthy Child Healthy World.  She enjoys art, music, yoga, skiing, and relaxing with her family.

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