HONOLULU — Young people are increasingly using digital devices for both educational and recreational purposes. This increased use of devices such as tablets and phones is being associated with an uptick in harmful effects, including obesity, sleep problems, depression and anxiety.

“Mobile phones and tablets undoubtedly have educational and recreational benefits, but it is critical, particularly for young people, that screen time be balanced with physical activity and sleep,” said AMA Board Member Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., MPH. “Physicians can play an important role in educating patients and parents about this balancing act, at home and in schools. To improve the health and wellbeing of young people, all of us must do more to address the harmful effects of screen time.”

In addition to highlighting the harms of too much screen time, the AMA encouraged primary and secondary schools to incorporate into health class curricula the topic of balancing screen time with physical activity and sleep. Additionally, the AMA encouraged primary care physicians to assess pediatric patients and educate parents about the amount of screen time, physical activity and sleep habits.

 

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