FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Summer break is underway for many Valley kids, and the extra free time could lead to more screen time.
"If we're letting our kids just go retreat to the bedroom, shut the door, and spend all day on their phones -- we can all, I think, understand how that's not good for their mental or physical health," said Dr. Daniel Gray, a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente in Fresno.
According to the US Surgeon General's advisory, children who spend more than three hours a day on social media face double the risk of mental health problems -- such as depression and anxiety.
"Kids are starting to use social media at younger and younger ages, as their brains still have a significant amount of development left to go through," Dr. Gray said. "Then unfortunately, especially the sort of preteen, early teenage years and junior high type years, that's when kids are very, very susceptible to things like peer pressure and comparison to others, and are really trying to figure out who they are in their own skin."
Gray encourages parents to enforce time limits and ask questions.
"As the dad of two teenagers, I know this very well that getting nosy can be something you have to be very careful with," he said. "We have to be asking questions. We have to keep our kids engaged. We have to keep them involved with the family."
Dr. Gray said eating a meal at the dining room table together with no electronic devices can make a difference. He also added that adults need to set a good example for kids.
"Most parents are on social media," said Dr. Gray. "Most kids are modeling behavior they see by their parents."
By limiting social media use in the summer, it can also help make a student's upcoming school year more successful and enjoyable.