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Back To School: Managing Your Children's Screen Time

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As we inch closer to that first day of school, CBS2 continues to try to help parents make the transition a bit easier for their kids.

One concern for a lot of parents is screen time. How much is too much?

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In this digital age, children are constantly surrounded by technology, but how can parents make sure it doesn't impede on school work?

"Parents should look at the broad picture. How much time does this child spend in school, how much on screen time ... for homework, for sports or after-school activities," parenting expert Julie Ross said.

Ross says by doing so, parents will get a better idea of how much fun screen time to allow at home.

"The goal of the parent needs to be to help the child use technology but not abuse technology," she said. "It's something our children will have to live with and learn to integrate into their lives."

Ross suggests limiting preschool-age children to one hour of screen time a day. Any more than that can poorly affect their development.

Older children should get into the habit of doing their homework first with play time, including technology, as a reward.

"I think it varies per child, but I think the balance between outdoor time and face-to-face time with friends and family should outweigh screen time for sure. Maybe a couple of hours a day," parent Lemor Balter said.

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Screens can also be used for good, though.

Homework assignments are more often done on iPads or tablets, encouraging research and collaboration.

There are also apps you can download to further their learning. DragonBox and Toca Boca are known for challenging children to solve problems through games.

"Kids do need to learn, like, this is how we communicate. We email, texting, everything like that. It's all done through that screen time, so they do need that," preschool teacher Amara Parseghian said.

Those devices should not be used during the last hour before bed, however.

The blue light from the screen can make children feel more awake and stimulated.

Experts also say if your child is doing a homework assignment on a tablet or computer, it's important to sit with them. Children are easily distracted and pop-ups can enhance that.


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