How much time does your child spend in front of a screen? Screen time includes time spent watching television, using a smartphone, tablet, computer, playing video games or other electronic devices. While screen time can be educational, it’s very easy to overdo it. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen time to 2 hours or less per day. Why should you cut screen time? Studies show too much screen time can lead to:
- Obesity: More time in front of a screen means less time being physically active and eating more.
- Poorer school performance: Kids with TVs in their rooms tend to score lower on tests than those without TVs.
- Behavioral issues: Children who spend too much time in front of a screen are more likely to bully, have attention and sleep problems, and show signs of depression or anxiety.
Tips to cut back on screen time:
- Set Limits: Know how much your child is watching. Set rules such as no screen time until chores/homework is done.
- Plan: Know what shows to watch and turn off the screens when not in use. DO NOT have the screen on as constant background.
- Time: Use a timer to help keep track of the hours in front of a screen.
- Create: Use a “media curfew” at mealtime and bedtime. All devices should be turned off and plugged away for meals and at bedtime.
- Focus: Don’t put screens in your children’s room. Keeping a television/computer in the common areas lets you better monitor what your child is viewing and discuss the content with your child.
- Model: Good behavior by following your own rules!
Dr. Elizabeth Kwon