Should parents put their kids and teens on a "media diet?"

Posted at: 05/26/2013 6:37 PM
Updated at: 05/26/2013 11:15 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

If you think your child is spending way too much time watching television or browsing the Internet, turns out you may be right.

Studies show teens spend several hours a day using technology. Some media experts even suggest putting your child on a so-called "media diet."

The advice is not just for teens. They say adults should also shed some social media pounds.

News10NBC spoke to a local media expert on Sunday.

It's tough to picture life without our cell phones or the Internet, but parents may find it a little scary to know studies are showing teens are spending most of the day watching television, listening to music, surfing the web and social networking.

How many hours exactly? Studies show it's more than 7.5 hours a day.

With tablets, smart phones and all kinds of social media, experts say it's all having a dramatic impact on how teens are evolving.

Experts say parents should get more involved, keep an eye on that clock and introduce the Internet and social networking sites at an appropriate age.

They say it all starts with having conversations with your kids, teaching them to understand how media can be used in a constructive way and how it can add some "nutritional value" to your your child's education.

So how can we, as a society, try to improve our “media diet?” Local media expert Tom Proietti weighed in.

“I think we could make all of this a lot easier if we were to follow the lead of the Canadians and the Great Brits and people in New Zealand and Australia. They actually teach media literacy as part of their requirements in their schools. So, they are giving, not necessarily the lead, but they are giving a lot of advice to parents and to children on how to use media. I think that's one of the things we have to do. One of the problems as a culture is that we don't understand how important and the consequences on how media consumption has on us as individuals. We tend to think it's only at the formative years for children. It's not. It's important for every single one of us,” said Proietti.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting media to no more than one or two hours a day.

They say too much screen time has been linked to obesity, behavioral problems, impaired academic performance and violence.