Too Much Screen Time?…
This is a touchy subject, I know. but in this digital age, screen time is an important consideration for parents. With the variety of screens and devices available, it can be hard to decide the right amount for kids of different ages. So, I made this ‘Screen Time Recommendations by age chart to make it easier to understand where to go from here.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued guidelines for screen time use for children, but these are not set in stone. It’s up to you to monitor and guide your kids. My article will look at the AAP’s screen time recommendations by age and give you some personal advice.
Now, I live in Korea, as most of you already know by now. South Korea is the most wired country in the world! I mean there are phones everywhere and free wifi on the subway and even on the buses! So, it’s tricky to get your kids unglued from screens when everything around you is a freaking screen.
But I made it happen! Read on to see what I did, and still doing with my 6-year-old.
Screen Time For 0-2 Years
For 0-2-year-olds, the AAP recommends no screen time, except for video chatting with family and friends. Easier said than done, I know, but hey there are only young once so enjoy every moment!
Until my son was 2 years old, he watched zero TV and zero phone screens. Really. I made that happen, well my wife as well, of course. But the fact is that it was not easy. Yes, we did not turn the TV on while he was awake. You heard that right. We enjoyed, and still are enjoying, PLENTY of quality family time together.
He did not see any TV at home until he hit 2 years old. We were raising him at home as well, with no daycare. All daddy and mommy, Simply. Dedication!
Screen Time for 2-5 Years
For children between 2 and 5, the AAP suggests no more than one hour per day of high-quality, educational programming with mom or dad present.
You should select age-appropriate content that is engaging, interactive, and educational. We opted for Cocomelon-esque type of programming until he was 5ish.
Young kids learn best through hands-on experiences and interactions with adults and other children. It is essential to never leave your kids of this age alone with screens, as they need adult guidance to understand what they are viewing.
Screen Time for 6-10 Years
For 6-10-year-olds, the AAP recommends between 1 and 2 hours per day of supervised screen time with a mix of educational and entertainment content.
Always, try to prioritize educational content, such as educational apps, websites, or games. It’s not easy and I don’t ‘prioritize’ this but it should be in the back of your mind. We love watching some Hello Carbot and other cool Korean cartoons.
It’s not a sin to have your kids watch a little cartoon or two after school, we all did this while growing up. The problem is when parents ‘plop’ a device in front of their kids to get some peace and quiet regularly.
It’s your job as parents to set boundaries around screen time use, such as time limits, content restrictions, and device-free zones. ++Zones like the dinner table for example.
It is important to keep kids of this age involved in a range of activities, such as outdoor play, reading, and socializing, to support their physical, emotional, and social development.
Screen Time for 11-13 Years
For 11-13-year-olds, the AAP suggests no more than 2 hours a day of screen time, with both academic, social, and entertainment activities included.
My son is only 6, so I have no saying on this one, but I’ll make sure that he stands by my ‘rules’ when screen time is concerned because I don’t want a boy that doesn’t look at me in my eyes while I’m conversating with him.
It is essential for you to maintain an open dialogue with your kids about screen time use and to set an example with healthy screen habits. Monkey See Monkey Do! If you’re on your phone continuously, the kids will want to mimic you!
Screen Time for 14-17 Years
For 14-17-year-olds, the AAP recommends no more than 3 hours per day of screen time, with a focus on academic and career-oriented activities.
Teenagers are more likely to use screens for socializing, entertainment, and multitasking, so parents should help their children prioritize their academic and career goals and encourage them to engage in non-screen activities such as exercise, reading, and creative pursuits.
So what now?
On top of the recommendations for screen time by age chart, you must consider a few tips when it comes to managing screen time use.
These include setting clear rules and routines around screen time use, modeling healthy screen habits, encouraging a variety of activities and interests, prioritizing quality over quantity, and monitoring their child’s screen time use.
Just manage your expectation and follow your own rules. It’s great to have these devices available for education and entertainment purposes, we simply must make sure that they don’t take away the awesomeness of parenting.
Hey, these phones and tablets are all over the place and they are not going anywhere anytime soon. Obviously, tech has come a long way over the years, and its impact on our lives is undeniable. It’s not difficult to control! This is what I do with my son…
No ifs or buts… Zero screen/TV until after school. No TV in the morning. Nope. He has never watched TV in the morning except when the Olympics were on because of the time zones. His TV starts after his Taekwondo is over. He comes home at 515pm and the TV is done by 7ish. Easy Peasy. Keep it simple. On the weekend, the TV is from 4ish to 6ish.
Every family is different, so you should also consider the quality of content, the child’s developmental needs, and the family’s values when determining appropriate screen time use. The Screen Time Recommendations By Age chart that I’ve written about is a guideline. You have to make your own rules in the house.
Ultimately, managing screen time can be challenging, but it is an important part of parenting in the digital age. By following the AAP’s recommendations and utilizing additional tips, you can help your kids develop healthy screen habits and promote their overall well-being and development.
You can’t deny the fact that technology has brought about an enormous shift in our day-to-day lives as parents and humans. From communication to entertainment and from education to transportation, technology has had a huge role in reshaping our lives. But with some prudence and self-awareness you can and MUST keep track of what your kids are watching and how much they are consuming. That’s your job not the AAP’s job.
screen time recommendations by age: chart
|Age Range||Recommended Screen Time|
|0-2 years||No screen time, except for video chatting with family and friends|
|2-5 years||1 hour per day or less of high-quality, educational programming with a parent or caregiver|
|6-10 years||1-2 hours per day of supervised screen time, with a mix of educational and entertainment content|
|11-13 years||2 hours per day or less of screen time, with a balance between academic, social, and entertainment activities|
|14-17 years||No more than 3 hours per day of screen time, with a focus on educational and career-oriented activities|
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