The effects of too much screen time and how to reduce adverse effects on children's health
Too much TV, computer, phone and game time can have plenty of negative effects for kids.
Minimizing screen time can help reduce adverse effects on children's health.
What counts as screen time?
- Watching television
- Working/playing on a computer
- Playing video games
- Using a smartphone or tablet
Too much screen time is becoming an epidemic:
- 8- to 12-year-olds spend about 6 hours on screen daily
- 13- 18-year-olds spend about 9 hours on screen daily
Screen time has been linked with a number of negative effects on children
- Commercials can promote unhealthy eating choices.
- Children eat more when they are watching TV, especially if they see ads for food.
Lack of sleep
- 57% of study participants texted, tweeted or messaged after lights out.
- Blue light from screens has a similar effect to caffeine.
Problems in school
- A correlation has been found between increased screen time and lower grades.
- Pain in fingers, wrists, neck and back
- Narrowed eye blood vessels
How can you help fix the problem?
Follow the American Academy of Pediatrics' guidelines for screen time:
- Age 2 and under: None - toddlers learn best by interacting with people, not screens.
- Young children and teens: 1-2 hours per day of high-quality content.
- Keep TVs and computers outside the bedroom.
- Restrict computer time during homework and TV time during meals.
- Use limited screen time as a reward for being active or reading a book.
- Set a smartphone curfew.
- Decrease your own screen time to set an example.