How much screen time is OK for my kid(s)?

Kids are spending more time with screen media -- and at younger ages -- than ever before. But there really is no magic number that's "just right." What's more important is the quality of kids' media, how it fits into your family's lifestyle, and how you engage your kids with it.

The idea of screen time as a one-dimensional activity is changing -- even the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), whose screen time rules had been strictly age-based, is recognizing that not all screen time is created equal. Computers, tablets, and smartphones are multipurpose devices that can be used for lots of purposes. Designating their use simply as "screen time" can miss some important variations. The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens identifies four main categories of screen time.

  • Passive consumption: watching TV, reading, and listening to music
  • Interactive consumption: playing games and browsing the Internet
  • Communication: video-chatting and using social media
  • ​Content creation: using devices to make digital art or music

Clearly, there's a lot of difference among these activities. But as valuable as many of them can be, it's still important for kids' overall healthy development to balance their lives with enriching experiences found off screens. These tips can help:

  • Pay attention to how your kids act during and after watching TV, playing video games, or hanging out online. If they're using high-quality, age-appropriate media; their behavior is positive; and their screen-time activities are balanced with plenty of healthy screen-free ones, there's no need to worry.
  • If you're concerned about heavy media use, consider creating a schedule that works for your family. This can include weekly screen-time limits, limits on the kinds of screens kids can use, and guidelines on the types of activities they can do or programs they can watch. Make sure to get your kids' input so the plan teaches media literacy and self-regulation, and use this as an opportunity to discover what they like watching, introduce new shows and apps for them to try, or schedule a family movie night.

The AAP 's new guidelines, released in October 2016, allow for some screen time for children younger than 2 and emphasize parental involvement for all kids. In a nutshell:

  • Avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting for children younger than 18 months.
  • If you choose to introduce media to children 18-24 months, find high-quality programming and co-view and co-play.
  • Limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs for children age 2 to 5 years.
  • Create a family media plan with consistent rules and enforce them for older kids.

The reality is that most families will go through periods of heavy and light media use, but, so long as there's a balance, kids should be just fine.

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Comments

Parent of a 9 and 12 year old written by Twoshews

Thank you for the guidelines. As a parent, we want to protect our kids but I also want to embrace their passions and if it's technology then so be it. I struggle a lot with how much time to allow them. I would vary between 30 to 1 hr a day, which probably doesn't allow for much creativity or play time (but really 1 hr is enough time to have fun on a game, right? At least to me it is). I expect chores and school work to be done before rewarding with computer time. It's when they reward themselves before any work has been accomplished that I have problems with. I'd love to sit down and read or write and hope someone else makes dinner but that's not gonna happen. If my kids are responsible with their duties I don't see why they can't enjoy themselves online. My boys have other interests like BMX, scooter, drones and Nerf that takes them out of the house. So, spending an 1 hr or two online should be fine. OH, and their chores have to be done correctly and not half way or sloppy.
Teen, 15 years old written by student2048anonymous

I'm a freshman in high school and I never even had a phone until maybe half way through 8th grade. This was really different from everyone else around me and I have found it difficult to connect with people and stay in touch with those who I was close to but who went on to different schools. Even when I got a phone, my parents restricted it so I couldn't even access the Internet in any way and I could only text people. Now, everyone seems to only use Snapchat, and I don't have a phone that can use it. I also have 30 minutes on the computer for non-homework activities and 1 hour of the same on Saturday and Sunday. On my PlayStation, I usually only have a total of 2 hours from Friday through Sunday and none on the week. Working with my iPad for school, I find that it is easy to get distracted which is hard when my parents make me sit in a certain chair so they can watch everything I do (I don't believe anyone else my age has a rule like this). In the end, though there is no major downside to my parents making these rules, I would prefer having a little more freedom since I am a very good student. Parents should decide what the rules are but how the kid behaves away from tech, and how everyone else is using it should be significant factors.
Adult written by Serena C.

When I was growing up my mother made me read an hour to gain an hour of video games. I believe that this is the most positive, and easiest thing a parent can do to ensure kids are well rounded. If they want to play more than an hour then they have to read more -- it is that simple.
Educator written by Harlene G.

Raising tweens in a media-saturated society is a major digital parenting concern. But how much screen time for tweens is recommended? Here is a guide on how to encourage your tween to reduce his or her screen time. Watch your own screen time You may think that your tween isn’t paying attention to your media habits but they do. The time you spend texting, using social media or keeping your smartphone beside you while having dinner becomes their personal media habit. As a parent, you should learn to watch your own screen time. Be your tween’s role model by not texting while driving, spending too much time on social media, and turning your smartphone off while eating. Practice what you preach and your children will follow. Set rules about their screen time Limiting your tween’s screen time may sound harsh to them, but it will help them regulate their media use. It’s also better to discuss media rules with the family. It’s important to get your tween involved when setting these rules. Create a media schedule which works for them. Formulate guidelines on what they can watch or listen online. Teach them how to pick the right apps and search the Internet properly. These will teach your tween the value of self-regulation and digital literacy. Also, this gives you an insight on their interests and schedule a media day with the family. Read more at momsecure.com
Kid, 11 years old

Honestly, I would have to agree. But there can be a limit. I would say about talking to your child and seeing what they like to do with technology, then talking with them to make a limit. For example, they might like watching Television and playing video games. Well, you could say that there could be 2 -3 hours watching TV, And 1 hour playing video games. It's all about the balance. I myself say, OK well I have done a bit on this why don't i go do this! And don't forget to set a good amount of time outdoors or just physical activities. If your child has asthma like i personally do, monitor their play and NEVER i repeat NEVER let them play for more than half and hour in humid hot air if they have asthma. In addition to all these factors, you should: Let them play online or watch TV on a schedule, have them play outside or play a physical activity indoors, and to keep these things balanced.(By the way, it says i'm 11 i'm not yet I am 10 that is inaccurate.)
Teen, 14 years old written by xTurtle

You really should just let the kid(s) play. As long as they show little to no fluctuation of performance in school, or emotion, mental or social health, then their fine. I play no more than 3 hours a day, and I show almost no fluctuation in school (at least the learning part). I have parents which make me do EXCESSIVE homework on the weekends, it doesn't help. If I know something in any subject, and do practice and do it fluently and nicely and efficently, then there is no reason to continuosly work on that skill. That time can be used to work on other skill aswell. Don't ever take the children's game console away, it really ruins the fun for any family related activity anyways. If I took it away, then my children, (if I even had any) would just be down on family night because they miss the console or computer or phone. 2 to 3 hours is a good INTERACTIVE MEDIA limit. Do not enforce time limits for normal media intake. Understand your children's grades. If they are getting bad grades because they didn't turn in their homework, then be sure their school bags and binders are organised by the dividers. If they get bad grades due to not understanding the skill, then let them try to fix it first, then if they don't improve, jump in, but only help them with what they need to do to achieve the goal. Do not give them answers, that's a false grade. The only reason I'm on my computer alot is because there is nothing to do. And you will say, do homework, study your math, go outside! This gets them down even more. Let them play, and they will eventually make time for playing outside. Be the example. You really can't tell them get off your phone, if you're on yours all day. Don't enforce anything to complex, and you will have a great time with your kids grades, and their time management =)
Kid, 10 years old

What I think ( since I never play on any thing with a screen in it, is that a kid should spend NO LONGER THAN 1 HOUR. You can reward your children and say" well... If you don't play on iPad or iPhone for one hour, I will let you play on your iPod or phone or iPad for 15 minutes " So if your child does not play for an hour , he or she gets 15 mins of free time : 2 hours - 30min
Teen, 14 years old written by jayturtle

So, as you said you never use anything with a screen in it, you wouldn't quite understand that an hour is not nearly enough time. It's how you incorporate electronics throughout your day in a balanced pattern that matters. Don't shove all the time into one slot because that makes it easier to constantly have your face in your elections when you have more time because you are used to having to use your electronics all at one time or not at all.
Parent of a 3 and 9 year old written by Holly B.

My fiance and I have a 3 yr old daughter and he has a 9 yr old son from a previous relationship. The 9 yr old has never been around much in the 5 and half years ive been with him due to temporary court orders and the child's mother being noncompliant. She recently got sentenced to 3 years in prison so he is now living with us. His mother let him play the Xbox from the moment he got up to the moment he went bed (weekends and summer) and after school till bed during school days. So, when he moved in with us 4 months ago he continued this same routine, which i was absolutely against. What is difficult is my fiance doesn't see it as a problem and if I try and enforce it to hard im the "evil step mother" says his son, which will not sound good in court when we go for full custody orders. I'm stuck and dont know what to do, my fiance and I continue to fight and argue about daily and it is taking its toll.Him and my fiance like to say ehat else is he suppose to do? He has books to read and flash cards (he struggled deeply with reading and math ) so what's wrong with spending time doing these things? Apparently everything is wrong with it, we have colored pencils, markers, crayons, paper, etc to draw with, tons of hotwgeel cars (which he claims he loves) we have a basketball court right outside, a bike, horseshoe game, soccer ball, kick ball, etc, but he has nothing else to do but play video games from the time he gets up at 7am till bed time at 11pm, 10 during school. He even ears his breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks so fast i swear he is swallowing it whole so he can get back to his xbox, but I'm a bad person for suggesting its a problem, according to my fianceand his son. We even seen a family counseler who repeatedly said that 3 hrs a day tops is enough, but that lead to nothing. The 9 yr old likes to point out that I let my 3 yr old play on her tablet alot (def not from 7 till11) but when she is on she is playing learning games to help with words, colors, shapes, countinv, abc's, etc. Along with YouTube videos with nursery rhymes and such thinvs that are helping her learn so much, meanwhile the 9 yr old is playing grand theft auto, call of duty, left for dead, etc. (all of which I will point out are rated M for mature as im sure most of you know) so nothing in those games is teaching him anything good. When we go to the store, in the car, or doing anythinv else all he talks about is his video games. When he is playing he doesn't hear anything around him, or chooses not to listen, he does hyperactive things such as bang the coffee table door open and closed with his foot, repeatedly, apparently w.o even realizing he is doing it, gets an attitude when our 3 yr old is "playing her toys to loud" he complains his eyes hurt after hours of staring at the tv and e even gets VERY angry when a game doesn't go his way. This is turning out to be a rant, but it's all built up and i dk what the heck to do becuz im. A horrible person for even mentioning this is a problem. Am I being crazy? Becuz i find it hard to believe that all of this is ok and I'm making a big deal about nothing.
Teen, 14 years old written by jayturtle

If it's becoming that big of a problem I'd say to compromise and maybe get more academic games for the Xbox. Something atleast somewhat helpful and not brain rotting.
Adult written by Michele M.

Dear Holly B., You definitely have a challenge. I do not envy your position. I have three children and none of them used electronics until they were nearly 9. And then it was extremely limited time and content. It was VERY hard; it took a lot of my time and my attention. However, what it did teach them was how to entertain themselves. Because there is a great deal of science supporting limiting screen time - it is different for different ages, but not by much, I suggest that you use technology and search the studies about screen time and its effect on children. Once you have that information and really understand it, sit down with your fiance and go over it. It will never work if you two are not united. Come up with a plan of screen time use. I warn you that it may take some time to whittle down the hours - cold turkey probably won't work. The next part is probably up to you. Find things that you and/or your fiance can do with the kids. This is the hard part: the dishes will have to wait, the laundry will have to wait; dinner may have to be sandwiches or something else easily prepared. This will require your time WITH them; save the screen time for when you cannot be with them. Have them start helping you prepare dinner - your daughter will probably love it, the 9 year old maybe not so much. Find other things that you can do WITH them. That is the ticket to success. You will probably find that you enjoy the time with the kids as much as they do (eventually anyway). This will also allow you the opportunity to find and do things that your fiance's son enjoys (besides screen time). It sounds as though he will thrive under the positive influence you will have on him. But remember that if you are in this relationship for the long haul, you will have to be patient with both your fiance and his son. Every time there is resistance, be sure to bring up the science that supports limiting the screen time and remind them that you care and want the best for them. Good luck.
Teen, 14 years old written by cozybuilder

I'm sorry but I must disagree. I personally have been gravitate a towards common digital media items my entire life. I used these to compensate for my lack of physical meetings in the real world. Restricting these is like restricting your child from understanding the modern world. I can see why you are skeptical of items like these, but nevertheless they are becoming to much of a key item in the modern era. Falling back on sciences that point out a "healthy" amount of screen time is not a valid arguement for someone who either: reads consistently more than the amount of time you are letting said person use an electronic, consistently uses an electronic for the amount of time you are letting said person use and electronic, or just someone with strong eyes and a good attention span. I've even done research on myself. My attention span over the course of a year drastically increased, I can focus on items better, and I have never had a headache in the past year or so. As such I think I have proven my arguement and I would hope you take my words into account. Thank you.
Kid, 10 years old

hi i play video games i get 8 hours a day i get 2 hours on tv,4 hours on video games,2 hours on my phone.I get A's and B's . on my free time is sometimes play pokemon and go outside to ride my bike.
Parent of a 10, 13, and 14 year old written by mommy king

Hi and thank you! I'm a mother of three children and really appreciate your words. I was googling how much time on xbox is too much for my 13 year old son and came across your post. It was very well written by the way. I would encourage you to share this with your parents. Just from personal experience, something written goes a long way with me. I'm often distracted with what I'm doing, another person talking to me, my texts going off, or just my mind wandering on what I should cook for dinner. Just an idea for you:)
Teen, 14 years old written by Umnothing

The only reason why I use technology so much, is because they isn't really anything than piques my interests at home. My parents are often busy, and the only time I get to spend with them are going out on walks, which honestly gets really boring if it's the same route all the time. If you take me swimming, then sure! I'm all for it, I could probably end up spending 4 hours at the pool if you'd let me. What I'm trying to say is, maybe stop focusing on how much time your kid spends using electronics, and try focusing on how you could shorten it. You could probably take them *anywhere* that remotely interests them and they'd have a blast without the screen. You see, everyone's looking at technology the wrong way. Kids use technology as a way to occupy themselves when there is nothing to do. If your kid spends most of his/her time texting or calling his/her friend, chances are, they probably want to see them in real life. So why not take them to said friends house? They could go jump on the trampoline or play hide and seek. Also, try to see everything in your child's eyes. It would help a lot if you'd try to understand each other rather than argue and ignore each other. If your kid sees you as some sort of dictator, they would probably start to resent you. That could lead to misbehaviour and a strain in your relationships. No one said having kids was going to be easy, which is why no matter how long it takes, you should always be patient with your child.
Parent of a 7 and 9 year old written by Ama B.

Hi! I am a mom of two girls (9 and 7) and I really appreciate your comments on this specific subject. Your reply has been by far the most positive and encouraging I've read. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain your point of view!
Teen, 13 years old written by Charlie231

I spend about 3 hours a day playing video games or watching television on weekdays and at least 7 hours on weekends, I am in perfect health and get mostly B's in school i also hangout with my friends regularly. Parents/guardians who think that video games lead to you get bad grades and having a bad social life are wrong. Most teenager's or kids who play video games or watch tv quite often are fine! There isn't any difference between us playing video games or doing any other activities, it's just something we do for enjoyment.
Teen, 16 years old written by Benblackwell

My parents let me play only 2 hrs which sucks because most of my friends live too far away to just drive over to hangout so that's the only time I get to spend with them during the day and plus they play longer and as a result I always have to hear about all the cool stuff they do while my parents are too strict
Teen, 15 years old written by tesfa too saucy

On the weekdays I am on the computer for about 2 hours a day doing homework, watching YouTube and playing steam games On the weekends and holidays/summer I am on my phone and computer for a combined 7 hours a day. I still go to the gym to work out with my friends 2 hours every single day if I can find time I play basketball everyday and study over the summer not only that I finished the year with a 3.95 gpa. My parents have learned to trust me and it's a win win so far.It's all about balance
Teen, 13 years old written by 13yearoldperson

you might think 6 hours but i have a software that add all my hours up on technology not just video games so that is good even texting people and calling
Teen, 13 years old written by 13yearoldperson

I am 13 I was playing lots and i mean lots of video games/screen time i am cutting off on holidays used to do like 13 hours now max 6 and i time myself that is 6 of screen time and my parents were worried i had no social life but i was very active i did a sport every day but in my spare time i would play video and i was not the best at school i am not blaming my add and dyslexia but now i got new friend and they have changed my life i go with them out my other friend were a extremely bad influence and now i am getting stronger C- mostly B and cupple A i used to fail half of all my subjects and i have a new life
Parent of a 10 year old written by simonl1

We are in agreement with Steve Jobs - 30 min weekdays and 2 hours per day on the weekend and holidays. With 4 kids we've got a handful of devices so we went to technology to help us -and started using Safe Lagoon. So this app allows me to schedule, monitor IM (Whatsapp, Viber, Skype) and as well as block xxx content and GPS tracking. We took a subscription and I think we're getting a lot of bang for the buck. My life got easier and my kids are really calmer.
Adult written by Dad2Girls

I read that Steve Jobs, one of the creators of these technologies only allowed his kids 30 Minutes per weekday and 2 hours on weekends. My daughter hates me for this but when she is on the phone she is a different person and when she is off the phone she actually seems more relaxed knowing she can't answer snapchats constantly. Kids, you have to learn to communicate with friends without this. Just sit and talk and play outside or inside like you used to. Read. It's amazing when you get a great book. These phones will make you nervous wrecks, they will take over your life. Tell your friends you are only on for 30 minutes a day and to send only things that are worth it. It's almost ridiculous the things people send when they use all of their time for this and nothing else.
Teen, 13 years old written by Leevaii

I'm 13, female, and I absolutely love video games. Summers from Monday-Thursday about 4 hours a day...Friday-Sunday about 8 hours a day...AND YET I exercise a lot and I'm pretty sure I'd be called the "lean" type. I play piano a lot, and I also study over the summer. In the school year, I maintain straight A's. That's the life ;)
Adult written by dawnpatton

I am curious if there is a sensible way to pull back on screen time. I feel that I've let my children watch and play on their tablets too much. What should I do?
Teen, 15 years old written by pop

I am 14 years old and on a weekend I can easily get 15 - 20 hours in the whole weekend
Teen, 13 years old written by am6

As a 13 yr old boy I spend no more than 1-1.5 hours a day on a school night with my tablet, PS3, and the TV. Maybe less. On a weekend, no more than 3 hours a day.
Teen, 13 years old written by ChloeAndCommonSense

We do how ever much time they spent on Homework that day is how much time they get on The TV, games etc. We are homeschooling that is. :)
Teen, 14 years old written by num111

In my opinion it varies of what you do online. I mostly use my computer over 3 hours a day, but I mostly chat with my friends, code or do something that improves my intelligence or my social skills. as long that you are doing something that can benefit you in other topics, i would not limit screen time as long as it does not harm your health.
Teen, 14 years old written by xX_4206921_Xx

I'm 14 and I spend about 2 hours on school days and 16 hours on the weekend or holidays but this is not for everyone. Basically the sufficient amount depends on whether you're healthy and getting good grades (I am lean and get straight A's so it's fine for me.)
Teen, 16 years old written by RenegadeDUDUDU

I am 13 years old (screwed up my birthday xD) and spend around 3.5 hours a day playing video games (may vary) and most of the other time (3hours) on my iPad. Obviously it depends if I have homework or sports and such. I maintain straight A's in most subjects and find that technology is VERY useful. Honestly, if you are smart enough to manage your time with playing video games and doing homework, you deserve to play. Of course, if you are getting bad grades, this is an ENTIRELY new scenario but as long as you are careful, you should be fine.
Teen, 13 years old written by CleverApple

This is very interesting especially the opinions. I think maybe half an hour on weekends and when homework is done on weekdays maybe half an hour. I have a strict screen policy like this and I don't think it's having an affect on my life in fact I like it because I have a lot of free time and am not being lured into a screen all day. And kids shouldn't get so much screen time they don't know how to entertain themselves.
Adult written by tclem271

I would limit screen time to 2 or 3 hours because it is bad for your eyes you would need to get outside and I would not allow it until homework is done
Teen, 13 years old written by Snow9012

Honestly, screen time may be okay for a little but its best not to let children become phone addicts like half of my school. I hardly use my phone and don't have anything else besides my laptop. I feel kids should never rally rely on their games and electronics to make friends or have a social life. Children become more likable when there talking to someone face to face rather than phone to phone or face to phone. Though it is good to let your child learn the digital age of this new generation too young could turn your child into a virtual zombie. The worst is when you don't even know what your child is doing on their electronic. ( Note: though its not good for to much time, don't keep your child locked up from the electronics or completely limit what their allowed to do. Instead try to get them interested in other things such as reading or a sport).
Teen, 13 years old written by universitysimple

I believe the issue is what the child is doing on the screen, not the screen time. I play games/watch YouTube for a total of around 5 hours a day. I rarely use my phone for texting or any forms of social media. I'm not a fan of social media to be honest. I'm in advanced classes and have As in each class. I'm a hothead, but that doesn't come from playing video games. If I were to quit playing my games, I would lose plenty of friends I have made online, some of which I am very close with. I'm not obese, rather skinny actually, and also engage in other activities. Unless your child is unhealthy , looking at things not appropriate for their age, or completely obsessed with media, I see no reason why you should limit the scree time.
Adult written by isaaclee

how much screen time minors should use varies. If a minor needs alone time, technology isn't really a good idea. if your kids use games a lot, why not just buy one. every kid shouldn't have one for themselves, especially tv. you wont believe how many parents let their kids have their own playstations and tv. you only need one. but monitor your kids academic success because if kids fail their classes, there is no need to let them play games.
Kid, 11 years old

Well i would say 5 hours a day max and 2 hours minimum. You see staring into a screen causes eyestrain as a result it can cause migraine (very nasty headaches) it defiantly ruined my summer.
Teen, 13 years old written by Randomanatee

I am a MASSIVE gamer and a super nerd and I think sometimes gaming and electronics can get in the way of my homework. But we Teens need some alone time (as most of us are going through big emotional and physical changes) so that we can get a grip on life. I think one think that has really started my love for technology is my social anxiety (yes i am clinically diagnosed) where I am quite antisocial and prefer to play video games instead of going out with friends. I still do very well in school (B's and up) but its just my homework situation that is going down. Parents should be watching how much time their kids spend, but not restricting it completely because we need alone time. TL;DR Teens need time to unwind and get a grip on life, so don't restrict electronic time completely, just be a bit flexible, and adjust to the homework/schoolwork situation of your kids .
Kid, 11 years old

i will be totally honest. i spend the majority of my time on youtube, wattpad, google docs, skype and the sims. it is definitely time consuming because you can get pretty into it. even with all this time spent on the internet, i remain doing an above average job in school and weigh an average weight for my age and height. the only problems i have are lack of sleep (actually because of my mild insomnia) and social anxiety (which is not caused by my amount of screen time because before i had this much, i had anxiety). because of my screen time, i don't get outside very much but still maintain a healthy weight because of my vegetarian diet. also, the things i go on can actually benefit me. wattpad allows me to read books based on the fandoms i am in that actually interest me, google docs allows me to write stories in the typing fashion i feel more comfortable with, skype allows me to talk to my two best friends when we can't see each other in person and the sims allows my inner creativity to be let loose. if it weren't for the screen time i've had, i wouldn't know as much as i do today. and another thing, my physical health is perfectly fine.
Teen, 14 years old written by GlobalCritics

As long as i can remember, this is pretty true. Kid's spend far too much time on the PC or Tablet, IPhone, etc. and even i spend too much time texting with my friends, but there is a way to fix this, I limit myself, to as much as 3 hours, to as little as 1 hour, depending on what i am doing. I used YouTube a lot aside from texting, but now i use YouTube for educational purposes only. I also used to play online games, such as Roblox, Minecraft, and the others, i quit those, which is the path to sucsess. So, if you can take my message in good way, that would be nice, and you should follow my path. ~GlobalCritics~
Adult written by leod

Most kids like to watch TV a kid should have at least an hour of screen time to help show them Conflict and Problem solving ability every parent says it rots your brain but honestly TV isn't bad for you it's just that most parents will look at TV and say no
Teen, 13 years old written by Minkah

In my houses no one is allowed screen time during the week to allow us to focus on our school work. On each day of the weekend we are allowed 2 hours of media time, this does not include kindle reading. Reading is very important in the family and reading benefits everyone. Sometimes we just sit around reading together. Writing on a laptop is also ok before bed or during the day.
Teen, 13 years old written by johnl621

3 or 4 hours on the week end and on school day 2 or 1hour and 30 min just because i think kids need to take a break and go and watch tv and fun time
Parent written by Jayce8654

My 10, and 7 year old sons have grown up in an era of vast technology. They have had too much screen time at times. It varies a little if its a special day. My 10 year old has been in front of a computer on occasion or everyday since he was 1. Its to each his own, eye of the beholder in my opinion. However, my 10 year old in 5th grade reads and does math 3 grades ahead and my 7 year old 2 grades ahead in both. I am not saying the computer, tablets, xbox, etc. have made any impact to the positive nor negative; just facts. They are also very very well behaved. No problems at school. I make them take turns with a video game and time them 15-20 minutes at a time, so it breaks it up and they might get 2 turns like this; or 3-4 if its a snow day from school, or what it may be. As a father I monitor what they watch, and play as far as video games, and I feel its my job to determine what is ok for them. Great grades, good behavior, and all around great kids, I let them play screen time a bit too much, so sew me eh? I do think all children are different. So you must as a parent gauge your childs level of maturity and intelligence as for each show or videos game and screen time. I also have a almost 3 year old daughter, she watches a lot of tv, sometimes. Peppa Pig, and PBS shows and my favorite BabyFirst on DirectTV. Though I also monitor and limit her time as I do with the boys; I am a bit more lax when it comes to my princess. But, it is the same situation, she is so intelligent the daycare workers say she should be in Kindergarten ASAP. She counts extraordinarily well, known her ABC's for a year now, and overall is more articulate and knowledgeable then most 4-5 year olds. Again, just facts. Screen time did not make my kids geniuses; My Wife probably deserves most of the credit; reading books, and playing with them hands on from a very early, early age. To the good of children. Thanks
Adult written by leod

15-20 Minutes isn't enough time for them to finish a show, If you stop them right in the middle of a show it will just make them want it even more.
Parent of a 6, 9, and 12 year old written by Rocky1lingo2

My three children are at different stages but all love tablets, Xbox, PC and TV. My 3 are are allowed to have access to these within reason after homework, dinner and any chores throughout the week including school nights but rather than try to monitor and limit 3 people's time i decided that every week on Tuesdays and Thursday no one is allowed on any type of computer or console. At a rough guess they probably spend 1-2hrs on the days they are allowed. They know the rules on Tuesday and Thursdays, these are the set days and they never hassle me about it, they go off, do other things, play games, read, draw and this seems to work really well in our house. I don't limit at weekends as long as homework is completed but my eldest still spends more time on it at weekends than the younger two as they always have friends invites, parties and school event happening. I use to worry a lot about how much time they were on these but I definitely find it easier to manage having agreed with them clear set days off. I haven't got time for a daily debate and chasing them to get off the computer and all the arguments is causes. This works really well in our house and makes it a lot less stressful than some of my friends households.
Parent of a 10 and 14 year old written by annern

I have 2 sons, a a 10 yo who is "neuro-typical" and a 14 yo who is "neuro-atypical" and very immature (he has mild Aspergers and severe ADHD) . The family rule is a tablet/computer screen time limit of 1 hour on weekdays and 1-2 on weekends depending on how things are going. T.V time can be an additional hour if all h.w. is done. Following these limits are really really tough for my older son d/t his intensity and willfulness and also for me as the parent who supervises all screen/ tech time. My 10yo does ok with the limits and some days doesn't even use all his time. Another challenge is that my husb thinks the kids shouldn't do any screen time but just read books, but he "tolerates" the rules I have set. I never expected this startk discrepency in parenting styles but that's a huge topic in and of itself! imho not allowing any tech time is not appropriate, b/c as we know not all tech activities are mindless/harmful, plus being tech competent can be a good social tool. We've never had any gaming system in the house, only a laptop and now tablets. I do feel that screen time <2hr/day is healthier than hours and hours in front of a screen and hopefully sets the stage for more varied interests and more physical activity. Both my kids play multiple sports, do extra-curricular things at school, and have good grades. My 10 yo is typical in that he complains when his time is up and sometimes tries to get more time added, but he transitions without a big fuss. In contrast, my neuro-challenged 14yo at times gets almost frantic about finishing up a game like Madden football or Clash of Clans when the 5-min warning on the screen comes on. (After trying a few diff parental control apps I now use "Screen time" and the accompanying app "Screen time remote"). His anxiety can be palpable so I'm constantly trying new approaches such as having him set the plan for his time (e.g. 1/2 hour after school then a 1/2 hour after h.w.) and we both confirm that's the plan. Usually he can't get off once he starts so he uses the entire hour at one sitting. Now it's also social media problems. This year he seems to be making a few friends which has always been a problem d/t his willfulness, intensity etc. This school year he goes on Instagram and Kik (doesn't have a smartphone) and at first that seemed positive, but sadly over the past week I realized he's getting very manipulative and lying to gain access to a screen to check Instagram or Kik by asking to log on "for school" but then goes on Instagram. I've decided to tell him he will lose all screen time the next day if he does that again. This is all so tiring! Setting screen time/ use of tech rules for the family, and figuring out how to use various apps (safe search, screen time limits, etc) to enforce the rules is driving me crazy. I imagine that many of these behaviors and dynamics are not limited to kids with significant challenges like my son's, so I wonder if there could be an article written/posted on this site that would help parents like me and kids like mine who are really struggling, to find ways to cope better with the tough tech issues of modern life.
Parent written by HMBMom

Thanks for your post. I feel the same way you do (driving me crazy monitoring screen time!). I also have two boys: a 10 year-old (who is neuro-atypical and exhibits some of the same behaviors your son does), a 12 year old who is "neuro-typical", and a 14 year old girl also "neuro-typical". I've been looking for suggestions from other parents here and am writing up some rules as we speak. Thanks for sharing! I'l post in a few weeks to let everyone know how it's going.
Parent of a 12 and 17 year old written by LiveLoveLead

I think it depends on the child. I have a 20-year-old, 17-year-old (bio kids) and a 12-year-old (foster son). My kids are good students, responsible, volunteer in the community and attend church regularly. I put restrictions on video game, TV and computer time during school days and allow more time on weekends, holidays and summer, with less restrictions when they are in high school, as long as homework and chores are being done. I found that if my kids have unlimited use of electronics (computer or video games especially), they will choose that over other activities. When my oldest was younger, he wasn't allowed to play video games on school days. With homework, church activities and sports, he had enough on his plate, and if he knew he could play video games, that would be all he would want to do. Same problem happened when my 6th grader had unlimited use of the computer after his homework and chores were done. He started not wanting to read or go to TaeKwonDo (which he loved before we got the extra laptop.) If he knows he can use the computer, he doesn't want to do anything else, he'll sit on the computer for hours, but when his computer time is restricted to 1 hour on school days, he wants to go to TaeKwonDo and will read more than the required 30 minutes. Kids don't often make the wisest decisions and don't usually understand the long term effects of their choices...that's why they have parents, to help guide and teach them from their experience and wisdom. This is day and age of people wanting and expecting immediate gratification, causing unhealthy choices. We don't let our kids eat candy and ice cream every day for breakfast because it's not healthy for them, and the same goes for over indulging on electronics too. There are tons of studies that prove there are many consequences of too much time on electronics. I know as an adult I even get stressed and overwhelmed trying to keep up with all my emails, Facebook, Pinterest and articles I want to look up or share. I often stay up way later than I should trying to catch up on emails or unable to get off the computer...like typing this right now...LOL. As parents, we should want to teach our kids to make healthy choices when it comes to screen time, just like anything else that affects their lives.
Teen, 15 years old written by considermythoughts

I am a 15 year old girl in three above grade-level classes. I personally believe that after lots of time-consuming homework us teenagers need some time to unwind. Giving us limits and not letting us discover ourselves how much is too much is not good in my opinion. I had a friend who in middle school had very strict limits on everything. Sadly, her mom died in a car accident and in high school she no longer had limits because her dad couldn't keep up with them. She then had a few bad days, figuring out her own personal limits. Her grades went down, and she became friends with the wrong people. She started realizing the things everyone else realized before. But I agree, don't completely let your kids free from bounds. Teens should not have any headphones in or electronics on during meals. But remember, us teens are under lots of pressure but music and YouTube can help relieve us from those stresses. Think when you were a teen, and go easier on you kids.
Teen, 13 years old written by DexterMorgan

Chya brah. No I'm just playing. I agree with you. But I think it depends on the maturity level and factors. I mean I'm 13 and watching house of cards, scandal and the walking dead(not really a thing to keep as far away into the depths of the earth show).
Kid, 11 years old

It would be helpful if it didn't have the AAP tie-in because I have unlimited video game time after homework and dinner, and I weigh a normal amount, sleep well, am 2 grades ahead in most of my subjects, and get all As, am not overly aggressive, and have no behavior difficulties with the exception of my "special needs", which at this point isn't much of a problem. They just want to ruin everything. 1-2 hours? RIDICULOUS!
Kid, 11 years old

I agree 1-2 hours is insane i mean i guess 8 hours a day is to much (that can cause eye strain then headaches) my opinion 3-4 a day
Adult written by GamerWhoReviews

Depends on the child age, my reccomendation (Total screen time) : Ages 1-3: 20 mins Ages 4-5: 45 mins Ages 6-8: 1 hour Ages 8-10: 1hr 30 mins Ages 11-12: 2 hours Ages 13+: Dont bother having a screen time limit anymore
Kid, 10 years old

as much time as they want while doing work or something constructive like writing a book and 85 minutes on a timer for iPod or computer. Also 2 hours for tv or one hour and a half if they watch it on the computer or netflix.
Parent of a 13 year old written by fleecy34

I have a 13 year old and I let him have 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon
Teen, 13 years old written by Ki-RBT

Personally, I am on my computer much of the time, but the real issue is what kids (myself included) are doing on the computer. If they're learning new things or being creative, then that's clearly not such a problem as it is often made out to be. So long as there are no obvious behavioral or academic difficulties as studies show may occur, screen time can be a beneficial form of entertainment.
Teen, 13 years old written by fangkitty

I, (a child the age of 13), personally believe that I have no academic challenges, I am not aggressive, and yes, I do lack sleep, but that's mainly because when I go to sleep, I stare at my wall lost in thought and find it better to just spend time online and be entertained rather than stare blankly at something until I'm asleep, which could take hours. As far as obesity goes, yes, I am quite fat, but I'm dieting and exercising unlike before, and still getting plenty of screen time (7-8 hrs), and maintaining A's and B's in school. (Mainly A's except P.E because I hate running the mile, and Algebra because it's super confusing. ) But yeah. I don't know what kind of studies are being done, but basing the results off of myself, find them very incorrect and suggest doing more accurate studies.
Teen, 16 years old written by brendanl1998

Watching a lot of television is not a bad thing. I'm sixteen and I watch hours of television every day. I am also an honors student who is in five college level classes with all "A's". Television is not bad if it doesn't interfere with other things, such as homework and studying. It is perfectly fine to watch television as much as you want, as long as you balance it with other things. I think it is very misguided when parents put limits on their children's television watching. In my experience, whenever there is a kid who has something limited by their parents, the second they are away from the parents, they do as much of it as possible. My friends whose parents restrict what food they eat want to eat everything when they are at someone else's house, because they don't learn how to choose what to eat for themselves. The same goes with how much television a person watches. Kid's don't learn how to figure out how much television is right for them when their parents make arbitrary restrictions on the amount of television they can watch everyday. They are not going to turn into television addicts without restrictions because they will learn how much television per day is right by themselves and actually turn off the tv on their own, instead of taking every available second of tv time allocated to them by their parents. Everyone, especially teenagers, want something much more when it is restricted versus when they can choose how much of it to do.
Kid, 10 years old

I'm 10 years old I play various hour of video games and I always get As and Bs. Dont have "lack of sleep, agression orother behavior challenges". Thither are my freinds, there not stupid and mean just becaus they watch tv or play video games. So those studies were probably wrong.
Teen, 13 years old written by buzzerb

Adults sould just say what my friends parents do. Once you've done your hw do what you like but be sensible.
Kid, 10 years old

I agree as well. BTW, I'm 10 too! Kids aren't really influenced by it but should do other things as well.
Teen, 14 years old written by Basicly No One

The thing is, yes I am 13 and maybe there is something I am looking over, but I play for atleast 10 hours a day (on weekends and days off) and I play with my friends all the time. I get straight A's and I'm in geometry for math. I am 5'6 113 and play 4 sports. My point is you can play for hours on end and still be none of those. You just need to find he mix of good and bad.
Educator and Parent written by Meghan Johnson

I feel the issue should be less about screen time, and more about what the child is doing on the screen. I wouldn't limit their time with paper, or another medium. If they are reading, writing letters, researching, using YouTube to learn a new way to make friendship bracelets, studying flashcards, I'm not going to focus on number of minutes. I tend more to focus on sedentary v. active time.
Parent written by DaveMCO

During the school year we typically don't set limits but screens and screen time is typically the first thing taken away as punishment. Due to no camps that made sense the 10 year old had a daily limit of 3 hours for the summer. This included any time on iPod, computer, PS3, Nintendo DS or anything with a screen really. It was interesting to watch how he would provide me updates and try and budget his time so that he and his friend can play together instead of him just becoming a veggie on the couch for hours on end.