Too Much Screen Time?

October 18, 2018

Media surrounds our children and teens. This includes TV and movies that are broadcasted and streamed, video games, music, and social media.

Screen time is replacing physical activity and actual conversations. Too much screen time can lower the amount and quality of sleep, which is critical for learning.

Common Sense Media reports children up to the age 8 spend an average of 2 hours and 19 minutes on screen media every day. Watching TV and videos makes up 72% of all the screen time. Children age 8 to 12 spend an average of 4 hours and 36 minutes daily using screen media. Teenagers spent an average of 4½ hours each day with screen media. If you add reading and listening to music, teenager's media time increases to 6 hours daily. Boys spend more time playing video games. Girls spend more time on music and social media. Mobile devices account for 41% of all screen time among teens.1

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:

  • For children younger than 18 months, avoid screen media other than video-chatting.
  • For children 18 to 24 months, if you want to introduce screen media, choose high-quality programming. Encourage parents to watch it with their children to help them understand what they're seeing.
  • For children 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Have parents view the media with their children to help them understand and apply it to the world around them.
  • For children 6 and older, have consistent limits on the time spent using media and the types of media.2

Talk with the parents about online safety. Set media-free times such as dinner or driving, and media-free locations at home such as bedrooms. The Academy recommends screen media use not interfere with children's sleep and exercise routines.

Parents can develop a personalized media plan for your children. The American Academy of Pediatrics ( has a Create your Family Media Use Plan site.2 Based on your child’s age, health, personality, and developmental stage, you can make their media plan. The plan can be used by grandparents or babysitters so media rules are followed consistently.


12017 The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Kids Age Zero to Eight 2017 ( )

2American Academy of Pediatrics