New study shows how much “screen time is enough” for our children

Never before has it been so simple to be entertained, informed, and connected.

Our favorite entertainment, music, social networking, and the most recent news all now be accessed around the clock from the palm of our hand. While adults enjoy this ease, children also appreciate it. In excess, in fact.

Children are acquiring smartphones at younger and younger ages, and they increasingly have access to TVs, iPads, video games, and other technology at home. As a result, their daily screen time is far more than that of earlier generations.

How much time is it?

The numbers may surprise you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes the average daily hours for each age group:

Ages 8 to 10: Six hours
11 to 14-year-olds: Nine hours
7 and 1/2 hours for 15 to 18-year-olds

And these numbers do not include the time children spend using screens for schoolwork.

The consequences on health

Parents must be aware of the negative effects that excessive screen time can have on their children’s health and capacity to form good relationships with peers and family.

“While televisions have been a mainstay in American homes for decades, the issue of screen time is a relatively recent concern, as smartphones have only been available for a few years,” said Samina Yousuf, MD, a pediatrician with OSF HealthCare.

It has become a routine issue for pediatricians to talk with children and their parents during the past decade.

“Studies indicate a correlation between excessive screen usage and a variety of physical and mental health problems in children, including obesity, melancholy, behavioral disorders, and anxiety,” Dr. Yousuf stated. It also prevents children from receiving the required amount of sleep each night, which damages them physically and affects their classroom performance. Then, when kids return home from school, they have less time to devote to their homework.”

It also influences their social development.

“Impatience in real-world relationships is one of the most significant consequences of excessive screen usage,” said Dr. Yousuf. “There is no need for patience with a screen. It provides quick satisfaction. However, patience is required while communicating in person. Therefore, youngsters must learn to wait, listen, and reply.

This will help them not only communicate with other children, but also play cooperatively, since taking turns with toys is so vital. This establishes the groundwork for the development of good connections and friendships as they mature.”

suggested time constraints

But given the pervasiveness of electronic devices in our culture, how should parents set limits for their children? Pediatricians, according to Dr. Yousef, generally advocate the following guidelines:

Less than 2 years old: Except for video conferencing with family or friends, there is no screen time.
2 to 5 years: No more than one hour per day may be spent watching television with a parent or sibling.
5 to 17 years: Typically no more than two hours every day, with the exception of schoolwork

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents build a family media usage plan, which may be easily constructed on the AAP’s website,, to support their efforts.

Dr. Yousuf remarked, “This is a constructive parenting tool that can assist parents in guiding their children as to what type of screen time is appropriate and when and where it can be enjoyed.”

Other preventative measures taken by parents include:

Screen-free bedrooms: There should be no screens in the bedroom, and children should avoid screens two hours prior to bedtime. The blue light from a screen can impede the brain from recognizing when it is time to prepare for sleep. Instead of watching television before bed, children should engage in activities like reading.
Fill in the gap: If you need to limit your child’s screen time, you should not leave him or her to figure out what to do with the extra time. Replace it with something constructive, such as outdoor sports or other hobbies.
Concentrate on face-to-face communications

In addition to limiting their children’s screen time, Dr. Yousuf advised parents to prioritize face-to-face interactions.

“Younger children cannot relate to what they see on a screen in the same way that they relate to real life. “The subliminal messages we communicate during face-to-face talks do not appear the same on a screen,” she explained. “By playing with a young child, you educate them how to interact with their surroundings. According to research, the more engaging you can be with them, the better off they will be since they will employ more of their senses, such as hearing, touching, and smelling.

However, regardless of a child’s age, human interaction gives benefits that cannot be replicated by screens.

Dr. Yousuf stated, “It’s all about creating relationships.” Later in life, you must be able to sustain healthy connections. If you don’t witness and experience healthy relationships from a young age, you won’t be able to recreate them as an adult.

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