Children & smartphones: What are the risks?

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - We are probably all guilty of not being about to put down the phone.

And with kids getting their hands on them younger and younger, it is raising the concern of the health risks.

A recent survey by Common Sense Media found nearly half of parents worry that their child is addicted to their cell phone.

Mom Jackie Collins often worries about the amount of time her kids are spending glued to their phone.

For her teenage son, it's almost like a full-time job.

"50 hours total in data a week," Collins said. "They're using it where to go, to look up something. I think they use it as a crutch for everything. Sometimes it's a little too much I think."

It is the reason some patients end up in Pediatrician Maria Duroseau's office.

"There absolutely is a concern," Doctor Duroseau said. "So much so that the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued statements about it. I have kids coming in their neck muscles are strained. When we talk about it and figure it out why they're laying on the bed with their phone or I-pad hunched."

Although, she finds the mental and emotional factors can be even more damaging because of social media.

That can lead to depression and anxiety.

But beyond that, the need to feel connected can turn into an addiction.

"I'm sure every parent can identify with this," Doctor Duroseau said. "I'm going to take your phone away. You see how they react because to them this has become there social lifeline or outlet."

For parents, it can be difficult to find the right balance.

"Unfortunately we use it as a crutch too," Collins said. "If there's another option for someone else to bring my daughter home from dance, I mean, how do we communicate? That's how we communicate."

Jackie said she does set boundaries when it comes to phone use, especially at the dinner table.

Doctor Duroseau says that's the key.

If parents want their kids to limit their screen time, they also need to set an example.

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