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How too much screen time can negatively impact kids

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EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - From online classes to virtual playdates, kids are more glued to their screens than ever before, and health experts say that extra screen time can have negative effects.

Michael Axelrod, a psychology professor and director of the Human Development Center at UW-Eau Claire, said overuse of technology could impact some kids' social skills and make them more irritable and uncooperative.

But screen use has been on the rise for a while.

According to a study by Qustodio, a company that tracks usage on thousands of devices used by children worldwide, children now watch twice as many online videos daily compared to four years ago. It also indicates children in the U.S. spent an average of 97 minutes a day on YouTube alone from March 15 to April 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic.

Axelrod said some signs your children may be on their devices too much include isolating themselves for 10 hours or more and changes in sleeping and eating patterns.

"Too much time engaged with technology can impact behavior in general," Axelrod said. "I think kids tend to get moodier.  They're a little more overreactive sometimes the longer they engage in technology and sort of not come back to their friends and family."

Axelrod added that we need to also be careful about demonizing technology usage altogether and show our children how to use it properly.

During the pandemic, he suggests connecting kids with music, sports or volunteer work.

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