Screen Time: How Much is Too Much?

Written By Syreeta Martin

Protect your kids, try Zift for free!

Instant Search Reports, Alerts for Inappropriate Content, & App Download Alerts.

Download Zift Free Now

The world isn't just one big screen.

That’s something important we desperately need to teach our kids, but how do we know how much time spent on smart phones, tablets, or other screens is too much?

Setting Proper Screen Time Guidelines

Given the American Academy of Pediatrics new guidelines for the appropriate amount of screen time (defined as any time spent using digital media for entertainment), these resources are keeping parents and caregivers empowered in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

The guidelines suggest:

  • For children 18 months to 24 months, parents should choose high-quality programming and watch with their children.
  • For children 2 to 5, limit screen time to one hour per day of high-quality programming.
  • For children 6 and up, establish consistent limits on the time spent using media and the types of media.

When you compare the suggested guidelines with our kid’s current screen time usage, there’s a considerable disconnect.

According to BBC’s review of The Connected Kids report by market researcher Childwise, kids aged five to 16 are spending an average of 6.5 hours a day in front of a screen. 

That’s twice as much screen time than in 1995.

It may come as no surprise that teens accumulate the greatest amount of screen time. Teenage boys average 8 hours and teenage girls aren’t trailing too far behind with roughly 7.5 hours spent in front of a screen. Younger kids, aged 5 to 10, average about 4.5 hours in front of a TV.

Taking Additional Screen Time Measures

So what can we do to effectively manage and monitor screen time? In addition to the resources shared above, we can try the following as recommended by the AAP:

  • Create a Family Media Contract
  • Designate media-free family time together (hint: dinner and car rides are a great place to start)
  • Identify rooms in the home where media is not permitted (i.e., dining room, bathrooms, bedrooms)

Here's a bonus not included in the AAP recommendations: Create a system in which screen time is earned.

  • 30 minutes of reading or some media-free family activity in exchange for 30 minutes of screen time
  • 15 minutes using an educational app/game in exchange for 15 minutes of an entertainment app/game or social media.

For another great read about screen time, check out Screen Time Rules for Toddlers and Infants.

About Syreeta Martin

Sincerely Syreeta is the mother of two daughters who remind her to Empathize, Empower, and EVOLVE every day. She is a freelance journalist, talk show host, life coach, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur based out of Philadelphia, PA.

Log In or Sign Up to leave a comment!

    Comments: 0

Protect your kids, try Zift for free!

Instant Search Reports, Alerts for Inappropriate Content, & App Download Alerts.

Download Zift Free Now