We all know that too much screen time can be bad for our children. What many don’t know is how much is considered too much. Does your toddler need less screen time than your teenager? As a parent, you want to do what’s right. Too much screen time can be bad for the eyes and health of your child. Let’s set the record straight and look at a breakdown of age groups for screen time.
It is recommended that infants be screen-free. At infancy, there are no benefits to screen time. It can be hard on developing eyes and can even impede on the amount of time the child should be sleeping. Remember that looking at a screen can make it harder to fall asleep after you close your eyes. The only exception to this is when screen time is used for communication purposes.
Around the age of 18 months, children can start to benefit from educational television. It’s important that the programming your child watches at this age is high quality content. There doesn’t seem to be a set limit at this age range, but you want to make sure that children between 18 to 24 months are doing more than just sitting in front of a screen. Screen time should never interfere with playtime, sleeping, or family time.
Kids Aged 2 to 5
Again, kids this age need to be exposed to high quality educational content. It is recommended that their screen time be limited to one hour per day. It is also recommended that parents be involved with what their children are exposed to so that their children understand what they’re watching or interacting with.
Kids Aged 6 and Up
The latest guidelines say that kids should be limited to 2 hours of screen time per day. Some are saying this is too strict while health officials are claiming more than 2 hours per day can affect the brain. It’s important when considering screen time to think about what your child is doing in front of a screen. There’s a difference between watching TV and playing educational games that teach reading, math, and thinking skills. Again, you want to make sure screen time doesn’t interfere with physical activity, sleep, family time, or school.
The guidelines for teens state that they should only have 2 hours of recreational screen time. It’s important to point out that recreational means watching mindless television, scrolling through Facebook, and playing video games. If your teen is reading books on her Kindle, this isn’t considered recreational. However, you do need to make sure that your child is taking breaks to rest her eyes. Too much screen time for long periods can affect vision. It is up to the parent to determine what amount of screen time is considered okay for their teen.
Also, I have stumbled across this lovely screen time printable from Haikal’s Game Book via Facebook. I truly love following through their updates and if you’re looking for ways to help with your parenting challenges and goals, then I highly recommend checking them out.
Screen time has come under a lot of scrutiny and with good reason. Kids today have access to a world of recreational screen time. Think of this as junk food for your child’s brain. A little is okay, but too much can be bad for your child’s mental development. It can also affect their vision. Make sure that you’re limiting your child’s recreational screen time to a limit you’re comfortable with.