UTAH (ABC4) – It has been suggested that social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok have serious consequences when it comes to children’s mental health. However, how are these networks affecting the attention span of young users? According to research from Cleveland Clinic, the mindless scroll of reel after reel, video after video, could actually be harming your child’s attention span. 

“The impact of screens is certainly profound because what happens with screens is attention is taken away from face-to-face interactions and it’s given over to a device,” said Michael Manos, MD, pediatric psychologist for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

Though Dr. Manos reports that there is no concrete evidence that regularly scrolling through social media videos can impact a child’s attention span long term, he does note that it could make it harder for them to concentrate in class or complete their assignments in the short term. 

According to Dr. Manos, the best way to help prevent social media from affecting your child’s attention span is by limiting their screen time. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that kids under four-year-old should have no more than one hour of screen time a day, while older kids should limit themselves to two hours a day. If young children are going to engage with screens, it’s important they do so with parental supervision. 

“Limiting access is certainly the only way that I know of,” said Dr. Manos. “All the conversations and lecturing of a child is not going to do a thing because the captivation of screens is far more powerful than anything a parent is going to say.”

If you notice your child begins to throw tantrums when you take away their screens, Dr. Manos says it may be time to consider consulting with a professional.