How much screen time is too much? Doctors weigh in on how much your kids should be consuming
MADISON, Wis. — This may sound weird coming from a TV station, but this week, phones tablets, and yes, even TVs, should be off. It’s National Screen-Free Week!
We know this sounds a bit ironic, especially considering you’re reading this information on a screen of some sort. The week is mainly geared towards kids and why too much unproductive screen time is damaging for their development.
Pediatricians advise parents to take a good look at how often they’re letting their kids watch TV or play on phones/tablets as well as what they’re watching or playing.
One children’s doctor News 3 Now spoke with said parents should look at media with their kids and make sure they’re getting something out of it.
“What it does is push away those all important, loving, nurturing, responsive interactions they should be having with adults in their environment,” said Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at UW-Madison. “That’s what drives development, and the research is clear on that.”
Both the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics have guidelines for how much screen time kids should be watching at different ages.
So how much screen time should your kid have? Both groups agree that kids younger than 18 months shouldn’t have any, and up until the child is age 5, they should only have one hour of high-quality programming. After age 6, screen time should still be consistently limited out of concern that it could interfere with their development.
“As pediatricians, we see what happens to children over a long period of time,” said Navsaria. “So we can see that children who have large amounts of screen usage early in life have behavior problems, attention issues, and learning problems.”
Navsaria said it is okay if you have to set down your kid in front of the TV to take a shower or do the dishes. But overall, he said that any media consumption should be done with you. This helps them understand what they’re seeing and how it relates to the world around them.
There are, ironically, a lot of online resources to help you figure out how much screen time your kid should have and how to talk to them about that. You can find those here, on healthychildren.org.
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