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Signs Your Child Might Have A Screen Addiction

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It wasn't that long ago that TVs were the only screen in the house, but now there are desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and phones, making it easier than ever for kids to get glued to screens.

As CBS2's Cindy Hsu reported, researchers with the American Academy of Pediatrics say some kids are spending as many as seven hours a day in front of the TV or the computer.

So what are the signs that your child may have a screen addiction?

"If there's any change in mood or any change in anxiety or especially if you're trying to get your child off of the video games, that you see they become explosive or they have a really strong attachment to these video games," said child psychiatrist Dr. Joe Austerman.

Parenting expert Tammy Gold said watch for red flags that you child is too dependent on their devices.

"Children think they cannot live if they left their iPad at home or they cannot live if they're going on a trip without their iPhone, or the computer broke and you see outbursts," said Gold.

Signs of screen addiction include more time in front of screens; dropping friends or hobbies; and isolation, Hsu reported.

Experts say parents need to take control and set limits on screen time.

"You say, 'now tomorrow because you broke the rules, you don't get any screen time.' So you use the carrot and the stick method and I think that works really well with children," said psychiatrist Dr. Joe Austerman.

And stay on top of what they're watching.

"It's not just playing video games; it's letting them have the geo mapping where they're posting pictures that's showing where they are, they're engaging in chatting in different worlds and it can be really dangerous," said Gold.

Another thing to keep in mind is that kids are always picking up cues from their parents.

So if the adult is watching hours and hours of TV or on their phone, these are habits they can be passing down to their kids, Hsu reported.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of screen time a day for kids and teens, which includes smart phones, computers, tablets, and TV.

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