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Drs. Oz and Roizen: Supervision is key for children with e-readers

Parents should encourage reading in many forms.
BY MICHAEL ROIZEN, M.D., AND MEHMET OZ, M.D., For The Oklahoman Published: June 3, 2014

Q: We limit the amount of time our kids (son 9, daughter 13) can watch TV, play games on the computer, interact with social media and use their phones to no more than two hours a day after homework. But we picked up two e-book readers. Should reading on those count as screen time?

— Frank G., Alpine, New Jersey

A: Parents everywhere are trying to figure out how to manage their kids’ use of digital devices. And it’s tricky. Most make location the issue: No texting at the table; no TVs in the bedroom. You’re trying to enforce time limits; that’s harder to keep track of or enforce.

If your kids cooperate, great, but a recent survey found that children 8 to 18 spend around 7 1/2 hours a day with their faces glued to a screen of one kind or another.

No wonder the recent national report card on kids and physical activity gave U.S. children D’s or F’s in every measure. Every excess hour spent staring at a screen means kids are not doing what they need to do to develop physically, mentally and socially.

So, what about time spent using e-readers?

Well, the facts aren’t all in yet. What is known: Some kids read more when they have a tablet to use — and more reading is good.

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