How Much Screen Time Is Too Much?
In this digital world, how much screen time is too much? Between Zoom with the grandparents out of state, Peppa Pig while you grocery shop, mid-morning cartoons, and apps galore, are your kids getting too much digital exposure? And does it matter if some of it’s educational?
How much time is too much?
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests only one to two hours of screens per day. That’s not really a lot, and can seem to vanish before a child even realizes it. There are multiple reasons for the suggested limit on screen.
Why does it matter?
Too much screen time can cause a host of problems. Things such as:
• Too much blue light exposure
• A lack of exercise
• An increase in moodiness
• Decrease in creative play
• Trouble sleeping
• Less social interaction
While an occasional day of too much TV isn’t a problem, every day habits can lead to serious concerns for a child’s health.
What if the screen time is educational?
The rules are a little more loose when it’s something educational. While only the parent can decide what is education and what’s just entertainment, try to reserve screens for certain times, and provide plenty of “real” education opportunities. A child learns more from holding a pencil and using a notepad than they do with a finger on a drawing app. There’s also no comparison between a book that you need to hold and turn the pages of versus a digital book. Physical activities improve hand eye coordination, critical thinking skills, muscle memory, and more.
How to make a difference
It’s important to model the behavior we want to see. Let your children see you reading a book. Encourage them to turn off the TV when not watching, or to set a limit. Remind them of the amazing things to do outdoors or with their toys, and provide opportunities for creative play. When you are doing something non-digital, invite them to join you!
Create healthy screen time habits together, and enjoy the benefits that come with it, such as exploring new things, improved energy, and togetherness!