Limit screen time, psychologist tells parents

Carolyn Moynihan
3 Aug 2010
Reproduced with Permission

A British psychologist visiting New Zealand is urging parents to get tough with their kids on time spent in front of television and computers, saying that screen time should be rationed as if it was sugar, salt or saturated fats.

Dr Aric Sigman, whose latest book, The Spoilt Generation: Why restoring authority will make our children and society happier, said adults must reclaim their authority. A new breed of parents, who were afraid of confronting their children, had created a "spoilt generation" with a sense of entitlement and lack of empathy.

Spending hours a day in front of screens instead of relating to family and other people certainly does not increase empathy. But Sigman also highlights damaging physical effects:

He says parents have been too focused on the content of what children are watching, but whether they were looking at "the most educational thing in the world or porno", the effects were the same.

He overstates his case a little there, but his point is valid.

I will be hearing Dr Sigman speak at a family conference on Friday and will have more to report later on. Stay tuned.