Recommended Limits on Kid's screen time?
April 14, 2008 11:48 AM   Subscribe

What is the current recommendation on how much "screen time" kids should be allowed? I'm especially interested in "Professional" (i.e. American Association of Pediatrics or similar) recommendations.

I recall popular press a few years ago reporting that the American Association of Pediatrics recommended not more than 30 minutes a day of screen time for "young" children over 2. In a cursory search for this, all I find is a recommendation for not more than 2 hours a day. The "media use" page on the American Association of Pediatrics has nothing about limiting screen time for children.

Surprisingly, ask.metafilter doesn't have much to say about this either. (That was the only thread I found about limiting screen time.)

Backstory: Since my kid was 2 years old, we've attempted to limit his screen time to 30 minutes a day. We're not always successful with this, but it's the stated rule in our house. Now that he's 4 years old (as of a week ago), I'm wondering what the guideline is. My searches, outlined above, have actually turned up no mention of the 30-minute-a-day guideline that we had been following. Can anyone else find this? And is there any comprehensive table recommending a number of hours of TV/day for age range. My kid loves his screen time (TV, video games) and it would make life easier if I could in good conscience allow more screen time.
posted by u2604ab to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Effects of Electronic Media on Children Ages Zero to Six: A History of Research.

The AAP said, in 1999, that kids age two and up should be limited to one to two hours of "electronic entertainment" per day - this includes TV, computer game time, etc.

You might also want to look at Food for Thought: Television Food Advertising to Children in the United States.

More kid/family and media use stuff here.

big ol' disclaimer: I work for this place, but I don't do any of the policy or writing stuff.
posted by rtha at 11:55 AM on April 14, 2008

My pediatrician said no screen time before age 5, an hour a day from 5-10, but she didn't cite anyone.

That was a little stricter than we ended up being. We do an hour a day (all screens combined), but let our 8-year-old bank it so she can see movies. And we don't count time when my husband and I are asleep on Saturday mornings, because it gives her that wonderful "I'm getting away with something" feeling, lets us sleep in and the minute we wake up we can say, "You've had your screen time, lets do something!"
posted by Gucky at 12:07 PM on April 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

This article was enough to get at least four of my friends (four couples, I mean) to keep their children from watching TV AT ALL (the kids are between 8 months and 5 years old). These same couples allow their toddlers time on the computer for learning games, but that puberty thing is pretty damn scary to me.

My best friend's 9-year-old daughter just started her period. Yep, and you guessed it... she is addicted to the Disney channel, anything related to Hannah Montana and spends lots of time online. And she is starting to steal her mother's bras. I find this strangely disturbing.

I realize this is one article, but still.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:22 PM on April 14, 2008

The AAP site you link to yields more articles (keywords: television, limit, preschool) that seem to endorse the guideline to "Limit children's total media time (with entertainment media) to no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality programming per day." (Emphasis mine.) I think it's not a conscience thing, it's a health thing, and you're in the best position to make that judgment about your son. What about increasing it by 30min a month until you reach some upper limit that feels right, and keep an eye out for any issues that come up in the meantime (sleep changes, behavior changes, weight changes, etc.)? If your son's been clamoring for more time, you can talk about the approach with him so he knows the increase isn't a foregone conclusion, but that you are looking for a way to be flexible.
posted by cocoagirl at 12:54 PM on April 14, 2008

Thanks to all answerers. The hivemind seems to have no recollection or ability to find anything related to the "30 minutes/day" recommendation that we've hewed to. I think that there's more quality TV time in little Aidan's future. Don't fret, though, we don't have cable and the clearest of the broadcast channels we receive is the PBS affiliate.


Fun anecdote: I like to watch college football. Last fall, Aidan and I sat down to watch a game. When the first commercial break came on, Aidan jumped up and said "There's something wrong with the TV. I think it's broken!" Guy had never remembered seeing a real commercial before. I guess there is a distinction between the "commercials" on PBS and the commercials on public TV.
posted by u2604ab at 8:04 PM on April 14, 2008

« Older I'm a star!   |   An easy-to-change video embed? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.