Setting limits on the amount of screen time your child has is one way to help maintain balance in their life. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children above the age of two should not exceed two hours of recreational screen time in a day.
It's important to note that researchers acknowledge that there is a difference between recreational screen time and non-recreational screen time.
Recreational screen time is defined as time spend using a devices such as a computer, television or gaming console that does not promote activity.
Non-recreational screen time is time spent using a device such as a computer, television or gaming console with an educational or active component.
Create a Family Media Plan
The presence of digital media in our lives has both benefits and risks. Digital media provides ongoing access to new ideas and information and gives us greater opportunities to collaborate and connect with others locally and globally. However, the risks of too much digital media include negatively impacting our sleep and attention as well as providing sources for inaccurate, inappropriate and unsafe content ( American Academy of Pediatrics, 2016).
As parents it’s important to create guidelines around the amount of entertainment time our children spend on devices to help them balance media in a healthy way. The Centre on Media and Child Health recommends establishing a family media use plan to help all family members manage their device and media time. It’s important to explain to your children why you are making a plan. In the media use plan, allow time for homework and play, outline where devices should be used, establish media-free zones and times and set guidelines for what to do when your children experience inappropriate online interactions. For help with creating a family media use plan, you can use this online media plan tool developed by Healthychildren.org.
Screen Time Tip Sheets
The Center on Media and Child Health have developed age-based tip sheets for parents. These tip sheets outline how media affects development at various ages as well as outlines ways to use media to enhance daily life. Click on the links below to access the tip sheets.