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Why it may be time to reduce your kid's screen time

During lockdown, some parents were forced to ease limits on their kids' screen time for school and to cure boredom, but now it's time to wean them off.

HOUSTON — Trapped inside and studying from home, screen time for kids went way up during the pandemic. But experts strongly recommend as lockdowns slowly lift, now is the time to make some changes.

Let’s connect the dots.

Screen time increased 50%

It's one of the many side effects of COVID-19, children have had significantly more screen time. 

Whether it’s because of online learning or parents needing to distract kids while working from home, researchers said screen time increased 50 percent. And while we would love to think those kids were only using devices for educational purposes that same research showed sites, such as YouTube and the gaming platform Roblox, saw the biggest spikes in usage.

Long lasting online identity

Experts warn that the effects from this change will continue much longer for kids than it would adults. That means there won’t be as stark of a difference between their online and offline worlds. Since kids have now learned to go online for everything from socializing to schoolwork, screens have become a major part of their identity.

Start slow, replace screens 

So what can you do? Child behavior experts say now is the time to start weaning kids off the screens and reintroducing limits. But you can’t just take the screen away, you have to replace it with something else. That means finding activities you feel comfortable doing with your child, such as going to a zoo or a park or something active that will engage them. And that could be good for the whole family.