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How Much Screen Time Is Good and Bad For Children

We can’t apply the one-size-fits-all approach while talking about the use of screen time.

Nowadays children spend a lot of time in front of the screen, including smartphones, tablets, TVs, and computers.

A survey conducted by  Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens states:

 “On any given day, American teenagers (13- to 18-year-olds) average about nine hours (8:56) of entertainment media use, excluding time spent at school or for homework. Tweens (8- to 12-year-olds) use an average of about six hours (5:55) worth of entertainment media daily.”

Though there are kids who use their devices for their growth and development, a majority are involved in playing games, on average a teen spends 9 hours daily using social media.

The media should be used as an opportunity to discover new things rather than a ‘Bin in which a teen throws his time’ 

Effects of spending more time in front of the screen:

Excessive use of screens has the following consequences :

  • Less time for physical activities
  • Irregular sleep schedules and shorter duration of sleep
  • Violence
  • Behavioral problems
  • Loss of social skills
  • Obesity
  • Eyestrain 
Depression due to excess use of screen time

How much screen time is good for children:

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics 

For Children ages 0-2

There should be no screen time for kids under 2 and for children above, there should be no more than 1 hour a day 

For Children ages 2-5

There should be only 1 hour of time per day and parents should co-view with their children

For Children ages 5-18

There is no such limit prescribed but there should be a well-defined routine i.e., there should be time for sleep, physical activity, family meals, school, and friends 

The solution to the problem :

Being a parent you should know what your kid is doing and with whom and what he is playing. If parents start getting involved with their kids while they are interacting with the screen, a healthy relationship will be established and that’s when setting a ‘routine-based use of media’ would be possible and the parents would be able to make their children understand that there is time to turn the screen off, particularly during the meal and when it’s time to go to bed.

A Healthy relation with less screen time

Parents should be role models. In my opinion, a child will always memic his parents. How can a parent expect his child not to use a mobile when he himself is not turning off the mobile even while eating or sitting with family?

Distracted Parents screen time
Distracted parents

A reasonable and practical routine should be established and the children should not be allowed to sit all day in front of the tv or computers even on weekends.

Social media has now become a part of life. That’s why it wouldn’t be a good thing to cut your child off from communicating with his friends.

Also, it’s fine for our children to spend healthy time online with friends. If the children are watching content that is appropriate to their age then their behavior will remain positive and that’s all we want because:  

” When one is in an environment that has a lot of media and all of one`s friends are on media then it is hard to resist”