Screens are a constant part of daily life and it's important to set guidelines to keep screen time at healthy levels.

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 Up Proper 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:

  • NO screen time for infants aged 18 months and younger
  • 1 hour of screen time per day for kids ages 2-5 years old
  • Restricted and monitored screen time for kids 6 years and older

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 1/2 hours a day in front of a screen; that’s twice as much 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 1/2 hours spent in front of a screen. Younger kids, ages 5 to 10-year-olds, average about 4/12 hours in front of TV.

Taking Additional 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)

A bonus not included in the AAP recommendations – create a system in which screen time is earned. Examples:

  • 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 medial.

What are your thoughts about the AAP’s new guidelines and what’s realistic for your household? 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.

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