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Psychologist warns against kids spending too much time on electronic devices

December 27, 2017 | By Denise Zarrella

Listen up gamers: the World Health Organization is looking to add “gaming disorder” to its lists of diseases.

Some experts are looking at whether playing video games for hours on end is actually a mental health problem.

Psychologists like Dr. Carolyn Ievers-Landis, of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, warns that if you don’t limit your child’s time on their electronic devices, your child could suffer some unhealthy consequences.

“I am very concerned, and the latest with sleep research is that it does affect the ability to fall asleep, and it does create this problem with insomnia,” says Dr. levers-Landis.

Too much time spent on electronics can make your child want to withdraw, which can lead to depression and anxiety, according to Ievers-Landis.

The top three tips Dr. Ievers-Landis has for parents when it comes to time spent on electronics and gaming devices include:

  1. Keep the electronics in a common area, where you can see what your child is doing.
  2. Limit the time your child spends on electronic devices to two hours a day max, with the exception of devices used for school work.
  3. Make time for your kids to interact socially with your family and other people by doing things like playing board games, going out to lunch or playing outside.

Parents will tell you it’s not easy.

Like so many other 11-year-olds, Raymond Kawolics of Macedonia is a typical boy who gravitates to planes, trains and tractors. All happen to be in his video games.

Like so many other parents, Raymond’s mom Diane, tries her best to limit her son’s time spent playing on his electronics. She even has a timer that can tell her how long Raymond has been playing. Still it can be a battle.

“A lot of times he can be a little more disagreeable – I think that has a lot to do with it being so addictive. They are having so much fun with it that they don’t know how to rein themselves in,” said Diane.

Kawolics has the right idea. She sees the value in her son’s love for electronics, but also likes to get him doing just plain kid stuff too.

“As much as they learn on those, there’s nothing more important than engaging in life,” added Kawolics.

What are the best video games for your child to play? Dr. Ievers-Landis encourages parents to have their kids play video games that involve social interaction with their peers.

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