How much screen time is too much?

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How much screen time is too much?

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You may have wondered – as you’re kids are staring into screens – you may have wondered what impact that’s having. And it’s having a lot. And we’re not enemies of the screen – the screen is fine, it’s good, iPads are good, TV is fine, video games are fine, etc. The thing to think about is how much. So it’s really about how much time is this guy’s brain in front of a screen? Because that’s what will affect brain development. So birth to 2, we really want almost no screen time. The brain… this brain has been developing over, say, a million years or so and it develops by touching things. And especially birth to 2, it needs to touch things, it needs to put them in the mouth, etc., and feel them sensorially for the brain to grow and be healthy. So birth to 2, we want almost no screen time. All of us who are parents, of course, have had our children watch videos, and so it’s no condemnation, but we want to be thinking that. Now, after 2, more screen time. But even after 2, watch out for the program. If the program has very fast moving images and the kid is 2 to 5, let’s say, that can be dangerous for the development of the kid, because the brain is trying to accommodate these fast moving images and it can create glitches in the brain. So think screen time, think how much and think the quality of it. If we take control of screen time, then we really make it an asset for humanity. But if you don’t take control of it, by the time that boy is 15, he’s going to spend 5 hours in front of a screen and that’s going to be bad for his brain.

See Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHC's video on How much screen time is too much?...

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Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHC

Family Counselor & Author

Michael Gurian is the New York Times bestselling author of 25 books published in 21 languages. He provides counseling services at the Marycliff Center, in Spokane, Washington. The Gurian Institute, which he co-founded, conducts research internationally, launches pilot programs and trains professionals. Michael has been called "the people's philosopher" for his ability to bring together people's ordinary lives and scientific ideas.

 He has pioneered efforts to bring neuro-biology and brain research into homes, schools, corporations, and public policy. A number of his books have sparked national debate, including The Wonder of Girls, The Wonder of Boys, and Boys and Girls Learn Differently!, and The Minds of Boys.



Michael has served as a consultant to families, corporations, therapists, physicians, school districts, community agencies, churches, criminal justice personnel and other professionals, traveling to approximately 20 cities per year to keynote at conferences. His training videos (also available as DVDs) for parents and volunteers are used by Big Brother and Big Sister agencies in the U.S. and Canada.

 As an educator, Michael previously taught at Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, and Ankara University.  His speaking engagements include Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, Macalester College, University of Colorado, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and UCLA. His philosophy reflects the diverse cultures (European, Asian, Middle Eastern and American) in which he has lived, worked and studied.

Michael's work has been featured in various media, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, People Magazine, Reader's Digest, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Parenting, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, PBS and National Public Radio.

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