Screen time can be:
- interactive – for example, playing video games, communicating via Skype, or using online tools to draw pictures
- not interactive – for example, sitting still and watching movies, TV programs or YouTube videos
- educational – for example, doing maths homework online
- recreational – for example, playing games or watching videos for fun.
Screen time guidelines
Child development experts recommend limiting children’s daily screen time. This is because real-life interactions with you and others are much better for your child’s well being, learning and development.
The latest guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggest that:
- children under 18 months should avoid screen time, other than video-chatting
- children aged 18 months to 2 years can watch or use high-quality programs or apps if adults watch or play with them to help them understand what they’re seeing
- children aged 2-5 years should have no more than one hour a day of screen time with adults watching or playing with them
- children aged 6 years and older should have consistent limits on the time they spend on electronic media and the types of media they use.
Risks of screen time
Screen time can have physical, developmental, safety and other risks. If you reduce the amount of time your child spends using screens, you can reduce the risks for your child.
Using screens can cause physical problems. For example:
- Looking at a screen intensely can cause sore, irritated and dry eyes, headaches and fatigue.
- Looking down at a device can make your child’s neck and spine uncomfortable.
- Being inactive for long periods using a screen can lead to a less active lifestyle, which could lead to obesity.