Parents: Give Kids’ Screen Time a Time-out


As a parent, you worry that your kids spend too much time staring at screens on their media devices — whether it’s their phone, computer, TV or tablet.

You may not realize that the average 8- to 10-year-old child spends nearly eight hours a day with different media. For older kids, the number goes up to 11 hours a day.

These numbing statistics come from a study cited in a policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Now the AAP has released a list of guidelines designed to help parents manage their children’s screen time.

No TV for children under 2

Richard So, MD, did not help put the guidelines together but is a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s. He echoes the screen time guidelines proposed by the AAP.

“Children under 2 should have no TV or screen time at all,” says Dr. So. “Limit older kids’ media use to less than two hours a day.”

Dr. So adds that cell phone use in the bedroom at night is the major cause of insomnia for the teenagers he sees — like the AAP, he is a proponent of bedtime “curfews” for media devices.

Highlights of screen time guidelines

Among the other AAP guidelines for parents:

‘Just talk to each other’

Dr. So has another suggestion to add to the guidelines for parents: taking daily media “time-outs.”

“All cell phones, computers, tablets and even TVs should be turned off for a half-hour or an hour after dinner,” he says. “And just talk to each other as families.”