How Much Screen Time is Too Much For My Child?

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How Much Screen Time is Too Much For My Child?

Screen time. It is one of the most talked about, and at times, controversial topics for parents of kids of all ages. There is no denying that we live in a tech-centered world and that screens are virtually everywhere. Plus, iPads, phones, computers and TV screens can actually be a source of information and learning for kids.

However, many studies show that there is a thing as too much screen time, especially for young and developing brains.

What Are the Side Effects of Too Much Screen Time?

When your young children have too much screen time, it can be linked to a number of serious health issues, including the following:

  • Obesity. The more time your child spends sitting and watching TVs or their screens, it can lead to obesity. It can also encourage children to overeat or develop an appetite for junk food while staying so sedentary.
  • Irregular sleep patterns. Blue light and too much screen time, particularly at night, can interrupt your child’s sleep cycle and make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Behavioral issues. Studies into elementary students who spend more than two hours per day watching TV, playing video games, or using smartphones are more likely to have behavior issues. This includes emotional, social and attention problems.
  • Violent tendencies. Too much TV time can expose children to violence, and they may learn to accept violent behavior.
  • Less play time. More screen time means less time for active play, which keeps kids healthy.
  • Issues with academic performance. Studies have found that elementary students who have screens in their bedrooms perform worse on tests than those who don’t.

So, what do parents do? How do they balance the entertainment and educational factors of screens and technology with making sure they aren’t doing too much harm to their kids. The best way is to limit the amount of screen time that they get every day. It is typically quite difficult for parents to completely eliminate screen time all together.

This is especially true if parents are using screens or if there is screen time at daycare.

So How Much Screen Time is Appropriate?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (APA) discourages media use by children under two. The APA also recommends limiting older children’s screen time to one or two hours per day.

As a parent, you already have so much on your plate. And sometimes, putting your child in front of a screen is just an easy way to keep them entertained. So, all you can do is try your best to limit the time they have and not beat yourself up if you accidentally let your child have a little more screen time than normal from time to time.

If you are making a concerted effort to limit their screen time and keep it as close to the recommended limits, you are on the right track. And if you notice any potential health issues associated with too much screen time, make sure that you talk to your child’s pediatrician.

Here at Continuum Pediatrics, we know that battling screen time with kids can be difficult for parents. And it can be hard to know when screen time becomes too much. If you have any questions about the impact that blue light can have on your kids, or tips for how to mitigate their current screen time patterns, we are here to help. You can call our office directly at 817-617-8600 to schedule an appointment with us.