2 Hours Of Screen Time For Your Child

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Today’s children spend an average of three hours per day watching television. If you add in the additional screen time provided by smartphones, tablets and computers, the total can be a whopping 5-7 hours.

Limiting screen time to no more than two hours per day could be the key to undoing some of this digital damage.

Here are some of the benefits and pitfalls of screen time to keep in mind when you think about implementing the 2-hour rule:

Cons of Too Much Screen Time

First and foremost, the biggest downfall of too much screen time is the element of passivity. That is, kids are sitting around engaging in a sedentary, passive activity, and they’re not moving their bodies. Children and young adults need to be engaging in daily physical activity, and time in front of a screen means time away from sports, outdoor activities or just active playtime.

Obesity is another problem often tied to how much time our youth spend in front of a screen. Often when kids are sitting down in front of a television or with a device, they’re snacking – much like adults mindlessly eat without realizing their caloric intake. Getting your kids up and moving means getting them away from these between meal time snacking habits.

Stifled creativity. Studies have even shown that too much screen time for younger children can interfere with their creativity, because they’re passively receiving information and not using their imaginations. Unless there’s a call to action to use their minds more during the programming, this could thwart innovation and originality.

Violence. Exposure to violence can cause desensitization in children, as well as aggressive behavior. Parents should be monitoring how violent the content is being displayed on those monitors, and curbing it whenever necessary.

Pros of Screen Time

So is all screen time bad?

Not at all. There are some benefits of your children being parked in front of a screen – like education. Shows like “Sesame Street,” which have entertained and enthralled young audiences for decades provide a valuable service – learning. Educational shows and games help kids learn core facts, reading and phonics, numbers and math, colors and even second languages.

But nothing should take the place of sitting with your children at the kitchen table and engaging with them. They learn best one on one!

Screen time in moderation can also be enjoyed as a family watching a good movie or playing an educational game on a tablet together. This can also open up the door to further conversation with your young person on topics that are of interest to them. Parents can also use screen time to teach important lessons on decision making, good influences and bad influences, and fiction versus reality.

The key to screen time is moderation. Two hours or less of screen time a day allows your child to engage if they choose but sets healthy limits on exposure.


To find a pediatrician at Henry Ford, visit henryford.com or call 1-800-HENRYFORD (436-7936).

Learn more about our 5-2-1-0 family wellness program and download our 5-2-1-0 Kids! app — a fun way for kids to learn the importance of healthy habits.

Categories: ParentWell

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