According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “children are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media
, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices”.
Wow! That doesn't leave much time for playing outside! Where did they learn to spend so much time watching TV and playing on the computer?
It seems our kids may be picking this behavior up from us! Researchers have found that on average parents spend even more time than their children with digital devices. If we want our kids to reduce their media time, we’ll have to start by setting a good example.
Why should we be concerned with limiting screen time?
Parents are raising a lot of concerns about how media is affecting their children. One mom complained that her 8-year-old son was having meltdowns whenever it was time to shut off his video games. A dad discussed the negative attitude he was seeing from his daughters - something he believes they are picking up from watching TV. Another couple shared that their daughter was more interested in playing with her Nintendo DS while on vacation than going outside to play on the beach with her cousins.
Preschool teachers are reporting more aggressive behavior in their classrooms due to what the children are watching on TV.
Many believe that children are acting out the violence they've seen.
An AAP article titled "How Media Can Affect Children's Health
"Research has found that media can influence children’s beliefs and behaviors in terms of violence and aggression, sex, substance abuse, obesity and eating disorders. Heavy television viewing has been linked with attention-deficit disorder and diminished academic performance, as well as hypertension, asthma, sleep disorders, mood disorders, psychological distress and depression."
How much screen time is reasonable?
The AAP recommends avoiding television and other digital media for babies 0 - 18 months. This is primarily due to the fact that very
young children need to interact with people in order to learn. It’s the back and forth interaction with real people that is essential for learning.
From 18 months to 24 months they recommend any screen usage involves communicating long distance with family using programs like Facetime or Skype.
This one page flyer explains how too much screen time hurts babies
For children ages 2 to 5, the AAP suggests limiting entertainment screen time -- including TV, video games and computer use -- to one hour a day.
They also recommend setting reasonable screen time limits for kids ages 6 - 18.
This one page flyer lists warning signs that a child is getting too much screen time