How Much Screen Time Should A Child Have?

Screen time limitations for children vary by age (e.g. tablets, phones, TV, and video games.) Under the age of 18 months, screen time is not recommended at all and it should be avoided altogether. Between the ages of, 2 and 4, thirty minutes or less is recommended. Ages 4 to 5, you should limit it to an hour a day. And with older children, you could sometimes extend the time, however, you still want to put limitations on the material they’re watching and limit their screen time. I wouldn’t do more than two hours a day.

In addition to screen time limitations, children’s screen time should be assessed to see what type of media they’re watching on the screens. Is it educational or does it serve an educational purpose? Or is it just for entertainment? Are there parental controls on the material as far as, is it age-appropriate? Is there any violence in the media that they’re watching?

Under the age of 18 months, it’s crucial to limit screen time or avoid it because their brain is so rapidly growing and developing that it really can affect how they process information. If they’re used to looking at a screen and being overwhelmed with a stimulus, then that can often provoke their brain to process information that way. And that can create attention deficit issues down the road if they’re exposed to a lot of screen time early on. Another issue with excessive screen time is that we don’t know how the blue light from electronics will affect children’s eyes in the future.

The use of screens can also affect kids’ attention spans. For example, if they’re used to watching very fast-paced media on their screens, this type of stimulus can affect how their brains tend to process information. It can also affect their sleep depending on what time of day they’re watching their screens. If they’re doing those things too close to bedtime, it can drastically affect their sleep quality and how long they sleep uninterrupted. It can also change their school behavior if they’re not getting good sleep. Usually it’s recommended to stop screen time one to two hours before bed and do something like read a book and/or take some quiet time to decompress.

It definitely isn’t straightforward in this day and age with the way society revolves around social media, electronics, and screen time. And with the use of electronics in schools it can be hard to limit screen time for your child. However, even though educational screen time is a good alternative it still should be limited.