New concerns over kids and electronics

New concerns over kids and electronics

AUSTIN - A recent study says 31 million kids spend four hours a day on their cells phones, and there are concerns over what that time is doing to their brains. 

New research from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows more children are using mobile devices, whether it is a cell phone, tablet or even a laptop. By age four, a majority of the kids have their own device. While doctors advise parents look elsewhere to entertain their kids, there are things you can do to curb the risks.

Six-year-old Ava Limon is a pro when it comes to navigating her Kindle Fire tablet.

"I took all these pictures and some are videos," she said, demonstrating for KVUE's camera. "I also watch Netflix!"

She's also savvy to her mom's iPhone and laptop.

"We'll curb it when it's time for family time -- dinner, board games that sort of thing," said her father Michael Limon.

Her parents try to limit her usage by categorizing the way she spends her time into big rocks and little rocks. Big rocks have to be done first.

"A big rock would be like homework and a little rock would be like devices," Ava said.

"The electronic battle with our children is non-stop," said Dr. Carl Lauryssen, a neurosurgeon with Lakeway Regional Medical Center.

Lauryssen is also a father.

"Their skulls are much much thinner than adult skulls are, so the amount of exposure that they're going to get is significantly more than we do," he said. 

Radiation exposure over time is his biggest concern. He suggests, when using a device, avoid a WiFi connection as much as possible. 

"If they're going to watch a movie for example, download a movie and turn off the signal and get them on airplane mode for the iPad or the phone," Lauryssen said.

Still, your best bet is no device at all.

"Definitely they're easy to consume time but it's also just as easy to decide to take time out and go have family time playing somewhere else," Michael said. 

Lauryssen said distance is also important. He recommends parents try to keep the device as far away from the child's face as possible. Even using headphones helps so they wont hold it up to their ear to listen.


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