Ask Aunty Dotty
How much time in front of the screen is too much?
Dear Aunty Dotty,
My 3 year old daughter loves watching her programs and playing games on the tablet but I am worried about how much time she should be spending on them?
Aunty Dotty says:
There really is no ‘correct’ amount of time that children should or should not spend in front of a screen. It should work according to your lifestyle and family values.
However, new guidelines introduced by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest digital media exposure for children of all ages should be limited. The previous limit set by the academy was no more than 2 hours in front of a TV but with digital media presented in so many different forms nowadays this can be difficult to monitor.
The Academy did also note that Babies are the most vulnerable to screens. In their report they suggest that infants aged 18th months and younger should not be exposed to any digital media.
These guidelines from Mayo Clinic help to define some boundaries:
- Preview programs, games and apps before allowing your child to view or play with them.
- Seek out interactive options that engage your child, rather than those that just require pushing and swiping or staring at the screen.
- Use parental controls to block or filter internet content.
- Make sure your child is close by during screen time so that you can supervise his or her activities.
- Ask your child regularly what programs, games and apps he or she has played with during the day.
- Play a video game or explore a new app with your child.
- When watching programs with your child, discuss what you’re watching and educate him or her about advertising and commercials.
If you are worried about the amount of time your child spends on digital devices, consider making a schedule that will make it easier for all concerned to keep track of their usage.
For additional help and guidance also check out information provided by organizations such as Common Sense Media to help you determine if a program, game or app is appropriate for your child.