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Are TV, Phones, and Video Games That Bad?

girl with video game controller

Are you glued to the TV for hours every day? Do you rush home from school to play your favorite video game? Do you stay up late looking at your phone or computer?

You aren’t the only one. Most kids get more than 7 hours of screen time every day!

It’s OK to watch or play sometimes, but too much TV and too many video games can be bad for your health. Here are four important reasons to start watching and playing less.

1. Too Much Screen Time Can Make You Gain Weight

When you watch the tube, use your phone or computer, or play video games, you sit still. You don't get exercise like when you ride your bike or play sports. Kids who don't get enough exercise gain weight.

You also end up watching a lot of commercials for soda, candy, and fast food. That can put you in the mood to eat more stuff that isn't good for you.

What you can do about it:

  • Don't look at screens for more than 2 hours a day. Need help to watch less? Try this: Play or watch 15 minutes less tomorrow and then 15 minutes less each day after that.
  • If you play video games, pick some that make you get up and move -- like boxing, tennis, bowling, or baseball.
  • Try not to eat while you watch TV. But if you are going to do both at the same time, pour a little bit of your snack into a bowl -- instead of eating right out of a big bag. That makes it easier to know how much you’re having.

2. Screens Can Make Kids Sad

You might worry about a show you watched on TV -- or feel bad when you think your friends are having more fun than you are on social media. Time on those screens also takes away from time you can spend being active with your friends and family. It can make you feel lonely.

What you can do about it:

  • Take a break from the TV, phone, or computer, and do something else you like. You could read a book, draw, or go outside.
  • Watch shows that make you feel happy and good about yourself.
  • Talk to your parents about what you see on television or online and how it makes you feel.
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