Screen Time and Children
As children grow and develop, they can
be easily influenced by what they see and hear, especially from digital media. Digital
media can include TV, the internet, and smart devices. Some programs can be educational.
But many children watch too much digital media. Many programs can show children violent
behavior that you don't want them to imitate, or that can cause fear. Digital media
also show children poor eating habits through commercials for high-calorie, low-nutrient
foods. Too much screen time can also take away from reading, studying, learning activities,
play, and exercise. Digital media can also show alcohol and drug use, smoking, and
behavior. Your child may see these things before they are emotionally ready to understand
these issues. And before they can make good decisions.
As a parent, you can help decrease the
harmful effects of digital media. You can keep track of the type of programming and
your child's screen time. Here are some tips for setting good viewing habits:
Choose programs for your child
to watch. Always plan what your child will be watching. Don't turn on a viewing
device randomly. Give choices between 2 programs you think are appropriate for your
Limit screen time to 1 or 2
hours a day for children older than 2 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics
advises that children younger than 2 years should not watch digital media.
Turn to educational shows from
the local Public Broadcasting Station (PBS), or from programming such as the
Discovery Channel, Learning Channel, or History Channel.
Watch programs with your child.
Talk about what happened on the show. Talk about what was good or bad about the
program. Talk about the difference between reality and make-believe.
Turn off the TV or other device
if the program is something you believe your child should not see.
Don't assume all cartoons are
acceptable and appropriate. Many cartoons contain violence.
Many daytime programs, such as
soap operas and talk shows, are not appropriate for children.
Be a good example to your child
by not watching too much TV or digital media yourself. Limit your own screen time.
involved in other activities, especially reading. Read to your child.
Encourage play and exercise for
your child. Plan other fun activities for your child, so they have choices instead
Limit screen time as a reward
for good behavior. Try a trip to the park, a festival, playground, or a visit to a
relative's or friend's house instead.
Don't allow screen time during