How much screen time for kids is too much? It’s complicated.

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With technology growing rapidly every passing day, it’s apparent that people, in general, are spending more time in front of a screen. But what is particularly concerning is that while adults are spending more time in front of a screen, kids are as well.

The reason it’s concerning is that for children specifically, too much screen time can hinder certain aspects of their lives. One study which looked at children watching TV reported that those who spent over two hours per day had higher blood pressure, which is linked to various health problems later in life. 

Other reports show that kids that spend too much time on social media feel pressured and some can limit their social lives and replace it with hours in their room, looking at a screen.

These instances have gotten parents to ask a simple question: how much screen time is too much?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should not even be exposed to any form of media until they are one and a half years old (18 months). Even when a child is past that age, there should be strict supervision, ensuring that your child only watches high-quality programs designed for their age group.

The Academy also suggests that those who are between two and five shouldn’t have more than one hour of screen time per day. Similarly, the programs should be high-quality and geared towards their age group.

But while all of this is said, this data is based on time spent watching television, but doesn’t include guidelines advise for school-aged children regarding “a balanced media diet.” It’s in this area where it’s really hard to answer how much screen time for social media and television is too much. It goes without saying that children aged 5 or less should not be on social media, but what about older? The data simply isn’t there yet in terms of specific numbers.

What we do know though is prolonged use does cause issues for children so limiting screen time, in general, is a good thing to do. There are many ways that we can limit screen time as well, and there are many ways to create those boundaries.

One suggestion is to first talk with your child about technology use. The key here is to talk about what they are using technology for, but also for both of you to set restrictions that you can agree on. You can also place these limits on yourself as well and that’s not a bad idea.

By following those restrictions, it actually sends a good message to your kids. In the early stages and even as they are developing, children will often model after their own parents. So be sure you are following those rules as well. You can even make a game out of it.

While technology can be seen as a bad thing, technology here isn’t the culprit. Technology does help us. Technology can help your kids finish homework via programs that block certain sites during certain times. There are even some apps like Forest where kids grow beautiful forests in return for limiting their screen time to a specific time limit.

As you can see technology isn’t the culprit–it’s those who are abusing the amount time on screens that make it bad. But by limiting how much technology we use, we can change ourselves and develop a better life for ourselves and our children.

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