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Set healthy habits over screen time for kids: doc

The Canadian Pediatric Society says parents should prioritize healthy habits such as physical fitness, nutrition and sleep over screen time long before kids reach their teenage years. Dr. Michelle Ponti, who leads the society's digital health task force, said the new guidelines emphasize how and when screens are used based on age rather than prescriptive time limits. Dr. Michelle Ponti Research suggests five or six hours a day of screen use is excessive, but that depends on the time of the week and whether kids are using computers to do homework. For children aged five to 12, the society recommends families watch educational programming together, focusing on content that promotes positive social skills. Ponti says the time to start having conversations about screen time and setting rules is when kids are in preschool and also to model good behaviour. Teachers are also increasingly finding students' use of phones in the classroom a big distraction that can interfere with learning. Cellphones will be banned in Ontario classrooms starting in September. Jurisdictions around the country also have various rules in place to deal with the devices.
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