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Take phones from zombie kids

Research suggests that some young children are getting too much screen time.
Research suggests that some young children are getting too much screen time. TNS

From an editorial in The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday:

A Denver dad says smartphones turned his two youngest sons into zombies. So he turned himself into a crusader.

Timothy Farnum, an anesthesiologist, wants Colorado to be the first state to ban smartphone sales to children younger than 13. The behavior of his boys, ages 10 and 11, underwent striking changes when they got phones.

They became withdrawn, distracted, uninterested in playing outdoors. When he tried to take the phones away, Farnum told CNN, one of his previously easygoing sons showed symptoms that looked alarmingly like drug withdrawal.

Farnum’s initiative is a long shot. He hopes to at least get parents to examine current scientific studies on the effects of screen time on young children and teens.

Such studies abound with cautionary messages: Excessive media exposure, especially for younger children, can interfere with sleep, hinder social development and discourage physical activity.

Farnum reports that once he pried the smartphones away from his boys, they reconnected with such basic childhood pleasures as playing outdoors and reading. Those are experiences all kids need.

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