SCREEN TIME: HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

SCREEN TIME: HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

I saw a 7 year-old in clinic yesterday for his well child check. I asked him what he likes to do and he answered that he liked playing Minecraft. I followed up with “survival or creative?” and mom gave me the look of “how do you even know what that is?” Truth be told, it’s my job. I think it is super important that we know what our children are playing or doing on their screens.

Media fast facts:

(source: American Academy of Pediatrics)

  1. The average American child spends 7 hours a day on entertainment media.
  2. Excessive media can lead to attention problems and school difficulties.
  3. Excessive media can lead to sleep disorders.
  4. Excessive media can lead to eating disorders and obesity.

As if that isn’t enough to freak you out, Internet and cell phones create all sorts of opportunities for kids to engage in risky behaviors (sexting, pornography, cyber bulling, etc.).

What to do?

  1. Establish media free zones. (I am a big believer in no media or cell phones at the dinner table.)
  2. Limit media (cell phones, tablets) in bedrooms, especially after certain hours.
  3. Determine how many minutes a day your child can have screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a max of 2 hours a day. I admit to being strict about this point, and I say no more than 30 mins on school days (except the work that has to be done on computers for homework), and only after homework and chores are done.
  4. No media under age 2. (This is an official recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics). Personally, I think it is impressively difficult to ensure your infant/toddler never sees a screen, especially if you have other children. So I suggest that what they do see is very limited and only educational.

Exposure to media is inevitable. Be selective about what you let in your house. You wouldn’t let a gun-wielding, foul-mouthed, naked bully around your children. So don’t let your children see any of that on your screens at home.

Some of the Products I Love

BOOSTER SEATS: THE FACTS AND MY FAVES

One of the questions I get a lot include, "What is the best booster seat?" and "What are the top-rated booster seats?" Here's what I know, and what I use: Booster seats are car seats designed to be used by children between the ages of 4-8 years-old. The seat belt in a...

10 THINGS YOU SHOULD HAVE IN YOUR MEDICINE CABINET

Everyone should have a few common, key items in their medicine cabinet. These few items should help in a pinch, and save you from making trips to the store in the middle of the night. Here are the must haves to any medicine cabinet: Tylenol (generic is acetaminophen)....

SHOULD I BUY A BREAST PUMP?

If you are having a baby and planning on breastfeeding, you may want to consider buying a breast pump. The most valuable time to have a breast pump is generally in the first few days after having a baby. So if you’re going to invest in one, do so early. Consider...

About The Author

Dr. Monica Wonnacott

I'm a pediatrician and a mom. I've been doing this doctor thing for 10 years, and love it. I'm known for giving parents the straight scoop without always sugar-coating it. And I believe in educating parents. The more you know, the better care you give your kids.

Dr. Monica Wonnacott


I'm a pediatrician and a mom. PediatricAnswers.com is my blog where parents can get the straight scoop on their child's health, largely based on my experience in the office and at home. I don't diagnose on the site, so please don't ask. These are just my opinions. Use this site as a resource. And trust your parent gut.

Subscribe Now

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER?

I send out a free newsletter with some of the articles and recommendations from the site. If you haven't already, please subscribe...and share with your friends on Facebook.

Thanks for subscribing. You'll start getting my newsletter soon.

Share This