Social media videos can impact a child’s brain

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CLEVELAND — Many kids these days spend hours on social media platforms aimlessly scrolling through video after video, but some reports suggest it may actually be hurting their attention spans.

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“The impact of screens is certainly profound, because what’s happening with screens is that attention is diverted from face-to-face interactions and focused on a device,” said Michael Manos, MD, pediatric psychologist for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

Dr. Manos said there is currently no concrete evidence that regularly scrolling through videos on social media can have a long-term impact on a child’s attention span.

However, in the short term, it might make it harder for them to concentrate in class or complete an assignment, which they find boring.

Dr Manos said the best way for parents to help prevent this is to limit screen time. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under four should spend no more than one hour in front of a screen per day, while older children should have no more than two. And, if they’re going to engage with screens, parents should do so with them.

“Limiting access is definitely the only way I know of,” Dr. Manos said. “All of a child’s talking and lecturing will do nothing because captivating screens is far more powerful than anything a parent will say.” Dr. Manos said if your child throws temper tantrums when you take away their phone or tablet, it’s worth seeing a professional.


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