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Pediatricians say parents should limit kids' screen time

If you think kids spend too much time in front of a screen, be it a cell phone, TV, or a computer, you're not alone. The American Academy of Pediatrics has put out new recommendations for parents on how they should manage their children's media use.

Channel Three's Joe Douglass has details along with some reaction from parents.

This is my two-year-old niece, Fletcher, enjoying her adorable little self in front of a computer. Although the content she's watching is educational, researchers say her parents need to keep a close watch on how much time she spends in front of a screen from now until she's all grown up. Yes, that even includes time spent watching things like "Sesame Street", which has been shown to help preschoolers learn and to promote empathy.

Dr. Ellen Rome, Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital: "Zero to two-year-olds should have zero TV and screen time. After two it should be no more than 1 or 2 hours a day of total screen time. That counts media, video games, computer AND TV."

That's what the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending. In a Pediatrics journal article, the group advises parents to set mealtime and bedtime curfews for media devices and to keep the devices out of children's bedrooms.

Lauren Biedebach, Mother: "It's so tempting to turn it on and like let them..It's 30 minutes I have to myself!"

We asked a group of moms about the new recommendations as they sat down for lunch in downtown Pensacola with their little ones in tow.

Brigette Freye, Mother: "It's a bit tough, especially you know, whenever I'm a busy mom trying to get dinner on the table."

Brigette Freye was joined by her three young children, who in addition to raising, she also home schools.

Reporter Joe Douglass: "How much time do they spend a day in front of screens?"

Brigette Freye, Mother: "Uh...They probably reach the upper-limit for the recommendations...Two to three hours for my five-year-old and four-year-old. My one-year-old he might get 30 minutes coming through seeing the TV that they're watching."

Although Freye admits there's room for improvement, her kids are doing okay.
Right now, the average child spends about eight hours in front of screens each day.