Screen time for children may be hurting their attention span - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Screen time for children may be hurting their attention span

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - From iPads to smart phones, technology is impressive. It can also be interfering with your child's education.

The question many parents have is how much time should their children be spending on these devices a day? We spoke with an Eau Claire school psychologist about that.

"In the classroom, we see a lot of students who have difficulty attending to the teacher, or sustaining their attention for longer periods of time," said Dr. Angela Axelrod, School Psychologist for Manz and Northwoods Elementary Schools in Eau Claire.

Keeping a kids attention in class has never been easy. But according to Axelrod, technology is making it even tougher.

"When you're interacting with a tablet, the feedback is immediate. You press, put your finger on it, and something happens. When you're interacting with a human being, or something that isn't electronic, the feedback isn't always coming immediately," Axelrod says.

The National Institute of Health recommends that children under the age of 2 stay away from these interactive screens altogether, and that children over the age of 2 have a 2 hour maximum.

"There's very clear evidence that the more time that one spends in front of a screen, the greater the risk of anxiety issues, attention issues, and depression," said Axelrod.

But technology isn't going away, and Axelrod says the school continues to blend traditional learning with technology.

"We just need to find a happy medium so that we're using it in a way that's not at the expense of our social skills, at the expense of our attention spans, and at the expense of just our general lives," Axelrod said.

Research shows the average American spends more than 24 hours each month on the Internet.

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