What is too much screen time for kids?

However, more choice for screen time does not mean that children should choose more screen time. Pediatrician Noah Schwartz, MD, says the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “there is little or no time for children under 18 months.” It should be kept to a minimum for children between the ages of 18 and 24. “He added that between the ages of 2 and 5, it is less than an hour a day.” We still have to remember how much material it takes. “

Dr. “Young children need interaction,” Schwartz said. “Children under the age of two do not get much benefit from screen time or just watching TV. At this stage of their lives, from a developmental point of view, it is about looking at their environment. They learn and communicate with the people around them. They are looking for these sensitive, sensitive connections and trying to understand social signals. It’s not really there when you’re watching a TV show or playing a video game. “

If your kids spend time in front of a screen, it should be age appropriate. Screen time should be something you do with them – not something they do themselves.

Dr. “Be as involved as possible when meeting with them,” Schwartz said. “Explain to them what you see. This discussion together. As your little ones get into adolescence, it’s time to set boundaries and set boundaries so that screen time is not what they do all day, every day. As your kids get older. Choose a series that everyone in the family can watch together. Experience a bond! ”

What is considered ‘screen time’?

You may be surprised how many things fall into the screen time section. Dr. “Anything, including the screen, is screen time,” Schwartz said. “It includes your television, your phone, your tablet, your computer. There is nothing specific about whether or not screen time is included. It’s about you or a baby staring at the screen. “
However, not all types of screen time are created equal. Actively watching movies is different from turning on the TV passively in the background while doing other things.

Dr. “Interacting with people through video chats, meetings, and the screen is very different from sitting and watching,” Schwartz explained. “It’s a much more exciting and positive experience than talking to grandparents on FaceTime or meeting in the zoom or watching TV at school, playing video games or using an app on your phone.”

Symptoms of excessive screen time

It’s hard to tell if your child is spending too much screen time. Dr. “There are no special symptoms that are different for each child,” Schwartz said. “Also, not every child who sees a lot of screen time has specific symptoms.”

Being less physically active

But children who are stuck on the screen are more likely to be seated. Dr. “They won’t move as much, so they will have less physical activity and exercise,” Schwartz said. “If you’re not so active and you don’t go out and get enough sunlight, it doesn’t make them feel good and can affect their nutritional health.”

Disrupted sleep

Sleep is another big area affected by the abundance of screen time. Dr. “Sleep is very important for growing babies, but the screen is a constant stimulus, especially when used near the bed,” says Schwartz. “There’s a lot of research going on about the negative effects of screens and lights on our sleep quality.” To make it less of a problem, said. Schwartz advises that curtains, especially TVs, are not allowed in the bedroom.


Dr. Schwartz says he has seen kids come to his office who say they have headaches or other physical complaints. “When we talk to them, we say, ‘Yeah, you spend 50% of your day on a screen, whether it’s a phone, TV or computer. That can be part of the problem.’

Eye hug

It is also important to rest your eyes. Dr. “Whether you are very close to something or not, this strain of watching will definitely not make you feel good,” Schwartz said.

Psychological effects

In some cases, screen time can really affect children emotionally. For example, studies have linked high rates of screen time to mood swings in adolescents. Dr. “Excessive screen time can have other effects on kids,” Schwartz warns. “Studies have shown that it can reduce cognitive function and attention span and affect energy levels. In addition, research has shown that screen time can affect children’s educators.”

Lack of teaching communication signals

Even young children do not have the ability to communicate well and tell you what they want and what they do not want. Screen time does not help to improve it. Dr. “Screen time doesn’t teach them tips on how to communicate,” Schwartz said. “They’re just watching. They’re not watching, ‘How does my family react when I do this? What does my caregiver do when it happens?’ It affects their mental intelligence and how they learn to adapt to a changing world. “

How to reduce screen time

Dr. Schwartz said it realized that reducing screen time was a problem. “Take a step back and say, ‘OK, let me think about how many hours a day my child watches TV. And if you notice, ‘Wow, that’s too much’, this is a first step.

Led by example.

A good start to lead by example. In other words, it means turning off your phone and turning off the TV. Dr. “If you’re at the dinner table and you’re browsing your phone, they’re watching you,” Schwartz said. “Children are sponges. They exploit their environment. They follow what they see.”

There is a fixed time and place without screen time.

It is also helpful to have specific times and places where there is no screen time For example, you can ban dinner time for the phone. Or you can ban video games after school until homework is done. Dr. “Also, for all the reasons we’ve said before, I certainly wouldn’t recommend staying in front of the screen at least an hour before bedtime,” Schwartz said. “It’s about having screen-free space and adhering to boundaries.”

See together as much as possible.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends visiting together whenever possible. Being part of your child’s screen time lets you learn what they’re watching. Dr. “Especially when you have a child under the age of two, it’s about getting involved,” Schwartz said. “You talk to them, you explain things to them, and you try to watch some shows with them. But if you’re a twin or teenager, it’s still a great way to look at it as a family and turn it into a more family time. “

Set limits.

Of course, any parent knows that trying to limit your child’s involvement in anything is not always going to be a smooth course. Dr. Schwartz acknowledged that there would be some obstacles along the way. “The kids will test you,” she says. “There will be days when they break the rules and you have to do something. If that means taking their phone and physically hiding it, whatever it is. When it comes to sleep, training and getting your kids to get enough exercise and go out, it’s important. . “

Be steadfast.

It is very important to be consistent and strong, he added. “If you’re going to set a boundary, you’re going to have to tighten it. Consistency is the only thing you can do. Just stick to it. “

Determining the ideal amount of screen time at the end of the day is also about balance. For example, at the beginning of the epidemic, when everything was off, children and adults felt less alone when they were able to video chat with friends and family.

Dr. “Screen time can be very harmful – but it can also be very beneficial,” Schwartz said. “It’s definitely been helpful for kids to experience these interactions online, find and meet their friends and talk to people. It was nothing like that. We can meet their needs specifically to find a balance and work with each child. “

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