It has long been known that too much television is not healthy for developing children, but with the prevalence of tablets, smart phones and video games limiting total screen time is more important than ever.
According to the American Association of Pediatricians, “the average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly 8 hours a day with different media, and older children and teens spend more than 11 hours per day. Kids who have a TV in their bedroom spend more time with media. About 75 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds own cell phones, and nearly all teenagers use text messaging.”
Guidelines established by the American Association of Pediatrics suggest that children under 2 should not watch any television or entertaining media while older children should be limited to one to two hours a day.
Research shows that children with television in their bedroom have lower test scores. The AAP supports the idea “screen-free” zones with no television, computers or video games in children’s bedrooms.
Background television is also an issue. A study published in Child Development compared the length of time a three year old played with a toy while television was playing in the background compared to time played with the television off. When the television was on, the play time was significantly reduced.
There have also been strong links between health and television viewing. Children who spend more than 4 hours per day watching TV are more likely to be overweight. Simply having a television in the bedroom increases the risk of being overweight. Other studies have shown correlations between increase screen time and increased incident of asthma as well as an increase in bone fractures.
How do you limit time? There are a number of timer that have been developed to track and limit screen time on televisions and video games. These can track single or multiple children and devices. There are a number of Apps such as Game Time Limits control the amount of time spent on tablets and smart phones.Read More