Atrium doctors promote unplugging as screen time set to increase with virtual learning

Impact of remote learning on health: Atrium offers tips for parents

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) -Limiting screen time will be a lot harder for students going to school online, but doctors at Atrium say it is possible to make sure kids stay disconnected for parts of the day.

Some parents already monitoring their student’s screen time are going into the new year worried. With a switch to virtual learning, the ability to disconnect is dropping. John McAllister is one of those parents.

”I don’t want my 6-year-old sitting on the computer for six hours straight,” says McAllister.

It is a reality many parents will face with remote learning. Screen time is prepared to go up exponentially.

He might not have a choice with schools trying to keep virtual learning as close to the real thing as possible.

”We’re very concerned about that. I mean we limit their screen time and we want to make sure that we’re monitoring that regardless of whether it’s learning or not,” he says.

Doctors are also concerned. An Atrium doctor says she is seen more students coming in with complaints of headaches from screen time.

Atrium’s Dr. Janelle White says the pandemic has created an unprecedented need for computers. She says there are ways to help student get through it.

“The past few months have just been unprecedented and none of us could have anticipated this and never knew we would have remote learning,” says Dr. White.

Making sure any student going virtually unplugs with off screen activities is crucial.

That means going for walks, doing something creative, or something that will take their eyes off the screen and onto another activity.

Create down time in a student’s schedule while they are virtually learning and still create a bedtime routine without screens two hours before the student goes to sleep.

“When we’re not engaged in screen time, that may be a good chance to think of other activities we can do to decrease the screen time,” says White.

About 20 to 40 percent of our seven districts have students going to school completely online.

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