screen time for kids
Parenting

How Much Screen Time is Too Much for Kids?

There was a recent question posted in one of my local playdates Facebook group.  The question was about screen time and how much does your children have daily.  I wasn’t surprised by the vast responses on this topic.  Some mothers stating none explaining that their children don’t watch any TV or use the IPad, while other mothers, like myself, were honest that our children have a couple of hours a day.  In this conversation it was brought up that a child should not watch more than 2 hours of TV a day.  Which I wonder how many of those moms are actually timing the screen time.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics a child should only have about 2 hours of media or screen time daily.  Specifying that it should only be high quality entertainment. They explain that having too much screen time can lead to problems in attention, behavior and in school.  It has also been linked to inactivity which leads to health issues.  They also recommend that children under two should less than 1 hour a day.

I personally know that my children tend to have at least 2 hours of screen time a day.  (Come to think of it, I work from home and am on my computer 8+ hours a day.  Some days less and some days more depending on what I have to do.) It isn’t a big concern for me because we monitor what they watch.  I don’t mind if they are watching Magic School Bus, or SuperWhy. To me those are educational shows.  It also varies based on the season.  In the winter my children have a little more screen time, where in the summer they are outside most of the day.

While the American Academy of Pediatrics lump all screen time together, I wonder if there is a difference between watching a movie for fun verses playing educational games on the IPad.  I know I have seen such a difference with my children in their speech, letters, numbers, and math skills because of the specific apps we have on our IPad.  My son is now on track to start reading by the time he is 5.

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Now we also have plenty of toys, books, puzzles and other items for the children to also play throughout the day.  Our son’s book library is over 400 books (I know from counting it the last time they dumped them all out on the floor in my son’s room.)  Our daughter’s is almost 200 books.  These are books that they love to read and read over and over again. We also were very blessed last summer with Step2 Play Up Double Slide Climber from a neighbor that was getting rid of it.  We have it on our deck and our children play on it and the deck for hours.

I think that each child and household is different.  I think that some days it will be none and other days it will be a lot more than 2 hours. You need to do what works for you and find a balance for yourself and your children.

How much screen time is too much for a 1 year old?

Children are receiving a lot more daily screen time than prior generations because they are acquiring smartphones at much younger age while also having access to TVs, video games, and other technology in the house. Screen time for children under the age of 18 months should be limited to video conferencing with adults. For children aged 18 to 24 months, limited, high-quality watching (with an adult) is advised, and for children aged 2 to 5 years, screen time should be limited to one hour per day.

For children under the age of 18 months, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen usage (save for video calls). They recommend limiting screen usage for toddlers aged 18 to 24 months. And one hour every day for toddlers aged two to five. According to them, screen time should include educationally suitable material that youngsters watch alongside their parents. The results, published in JAMA Paediatrics, imply that increased watching starts before any developmental delay is visible, rather than children with poor developmental performance being given extra screen time later on.

However, it is unclear if screen time, including how much and what kind, is directly to fault. Screen time may simply go hand in hand with other factors associated with delayed development, such as parenting and how a kid spends his or her remaining spare time. Excessive screen exposure impairs the child’s peripheral retina, which is utilised at night. Furthermore, exposure to high brightness blue light causes excessive expansion, resulting in myopia.

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Is screen time harmful to children’s brains?

Early findings from a landmark National Institutes of Health (NIH) study that began in 2018 show that children who spent more than two hours a day on screen-time activities performed worse on language and thinking tests, and some children who spent more than seven hours a day on screen time experienced thinning of the cortex, the area of the brain associated with critical thinking and reasoning. According to Rich, the developing human brain is continually creating synaptic connections while pruning away less-used ones, and digital media consumption plays an active part in that process. According to him, most of what occurs on screen delivers “impoverished” stimulation of the growing brain when contrasted to reality. Children need a variety of online and offline activities, including the opportunity to let their imaginations wander.

In other words, a youngster who spends a lot of time on screens is less likely to spend time playing, exercising, or socialising with friends and family in real life. This may have a substantial influence on a child’s entire development and maturity. Parents serve as role models for their children. Remember that when you binge-watch your favourite Netflix series, you are setting a good example for your children. Leaving the TV on in the background or scrolling through your phone in your leisure time may not be modelling the behaviour you want your children to emulate.

AboutKara

I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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