Screen time and children
"Screen time" is any time that is spent in front of a screen, such as a TV, computer, or video game player. Screen time is sedentary activity, or being inactive while sitting down. Very little energy is used during screen time.
Most children spend about 3 hours a day watching TV. When you add in other screen time activities, it is closer to 5 - 7 hours a day.
Too much screen time can:
Screen time increases your child’s risk of obesity because:
Computers can be helpful when kids are using them to do schoolwork. But surfing the internet, spending time on Facebook, or watching YouTube videos is considered unhealthy screen time.
Current Screen Time Guidelines
Children under age 2 should have no screen time.
Limit screen to 1 - 2 hours a day for children over age 2.
Videos aimed at very young children do not improve their development, in spite of what ads that promote them say.
How to Decrease Screen Time
For some children, reducing screen time to 2 hours a day can be difficult because watching TV is part of their daily routine. Efforts to reduce screen time work better when children understand how sedentary activity is affecting their health, and they learn they can do things to get healthier.
Ways to decrease screen time:
Review Date: 7/1/2011
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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