Experts say kids should put phone down to avoid health problems

Experts say "screen binge-ing" could lead to serious health problems for your children and offer strategies on how to limit screen time this summer.

When attempting to make eye contact with a kid, it's almost impossible if they have a device in their hands.

It is, however, important to keep in mind that what looks like harmless fun could potentially be dangerous.

A recently published study found 18 percent of 9-to-10 year olds who spent more than three hours a day on screens could be at higher risk of type-two diabetes.

"It makes sense if you think about it," said Consumer Reports Electronics Editor Tercius Bufete. "Kids are more likely to snack mindlessly when they're in front of a screen than they are when they're outside or exercising."

It also doesn't help that screen time is often accompanied by junk-food ads.

"Remember that old saying, 'monkey see monkey do?'" Bufete said. "Well, if you're doing it, it's likely your kids are too. So first, set limits on your own screen time. Then set limits for them."

Good techniques include forcing all family members to put devices away and turn off the television. Also, only allow screens in certain rooms like the family room.

And you can use routers like Google WiFi and Eero, which have apps you can use to block access during certain times of the day.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also has a "Media Time Calculator" which can help determine age-appropriate limits for your child.

But perhaps the best way to cut back on screen time is to get your kids outside and into sports. Recommended activities include biking, walking or just throwing the ball around.

Also, have the whole family leave phones outside bedrooms when it's time for sleep. Experts suggest keeping a charging station in the kitchen.

It is also useful to track time spent on smartphones. Many apps can do this for you and once you see how much time you and your family spend online, you might be surprised.
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