Too Much Summer Screen Time?

July 5, 2018

In today's world, children are surrounded by digital media. Many kids spend hours in front of devices like computers, TVs, smartphones or tablets. How much screen time is OK for your child?

Moderate levels of daily screen time do not appear to be harmful.

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to share some screen time with their kids. Content should be informational, educational, and nonviolent.
  • If teens are choosing screen time over homework, social events or physical activity—it’s too much.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends kids get at least 60 minutes of physical exercise each day. 

What are the effects of too much screen time?

Overdoing screen time can cause a number of problems:

  • Lack of exercise and possible weight gain
  • A chance of poorer bone health from too much time sitting
  • Less time spent being active with friends and family; a feeling of loneliness
  • Fatigue from staying up too late playing video games or on social media
  • Too much exposure to violence, which can desensitize children
  • Behavioral problems in lower-grade students with more than 2 hours a day of screen time

Exactly how much is OK?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:

  • Under 18 months—No screen time except video chat
  • 18-24 months—High quality content only, with parent present
  • Two to five years old—No more than one hour per day
  • Children and teens—No more than two hours per day

The CDC reports these whopping current average screen times:

  • 8-10 years old – 6 hours a day
  • 11-14 years old – 9 hours a day
  • 15-18 years old – 7.5 hours a day

Put some limits on it.

  • Allow TV, tablet or phone time only at certain times of day or on weekends.
  • Set a timer. When it buzzes, your child’s screen time is up.
  • When screen time is over, store tablets, phones and other devices out of sight.
  • Encourage activities and clubs that engage your teen socially.
  • Keep screens out of children's bedrooms.

Learn more about the effects of screen time on children and how to guide your child.