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How to talk with kids about screentime and COVID-19

With schools closed and governments issuing orders for people to stay at home, a lot of kids have no choice but to turn to their screens for school and any kind of socializing. The debate over how much screentime is healthy is nothing new, but our devices have arguably never played as big a role in our lives as they do now when it comes to staying connected amid a global pandemic.

To understand how these changes might affect kids, The Verge spoke with Lloyda Williamson, a general and child psychiatrist and the chair of the psychiatry and behavioral sciences department at Meharry Medical College. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Recent data shows that a majority of kids between the ages of six and 12 in the US are spending at least 50 percent more time in front of screens each day during the COVID-19 outbreaks. How might that affect kids’ development and mental health?

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