Sharon Kleyne Interviews a Pediatrician about Childhood Computer Use

13 Jan

Dana Hargunami, MD, is a Pediatrician at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon. Her specialty is childhood injuries. Here is an excerpt from her interview on The Sharon Kleyne Hour syndicated talk radio show on August 27, 2007 (www.modavox.worldtalkradio.com).

Sharon: I’m concerned about children’s rooms with TVs, DVD players, computers, phones and electronic games. For one thing, it could affect their vision. Have you observed this?

Dana: Not directly but I’m aware of the vision problem. I’m also concerned about the lack of exercise and effect on the child’s attention span. We’re seeing epidemics of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and childhood obesity.

Sharon: It used to be when you sent your child to their room, it was a punishment. Now you punish them by making them go outside. And outside isn’t nearly as safe as it was years ago. Could you tell us more about ADHD?

Dana: ADHD children have trouble focusing and staying on task. They can be difficult to discipline. It could be partly biochemical and medication can help but I think there is a significant environmental factor and a definite correlation with “screen time.” Just when they need to learn to focus, they are being over-stimulated.

Sharon: Is there anything parents can do to help children focus?

Dana: Talk to your pediatrician or maybe see a child psychologist. To make a diagnosis, we have to see the child in a variety of settings. Of course, it’s easiest to just remove the harmful stimulant. The bedroom should be a place to calm down. They should be reading books there, not watching TV or playing video games.

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