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Sharp Health News

Screen time: How much is too much? (infographic)

Jan. 5, 2017

From TVs to tablets, kids these days seem glued to screens. But how much is too much? Dr. Jennifer Tam, an optometrist with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, shares the latest screen time recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Kids and screen time – how much is too much? Pediatricians suggest limiting kids’ screen time. But they also see the value in video chatting with grandma. “Technology is becoming more entwined with our daily lives,” says Dr. Jenifer Tam, an optometrist to Sharp Rees-Stealy. “We have to monitor and be smart about how we use it. Finding balance is key.” So where do you draw the line? We break down the latest recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Defining screen time – entertainment vs. educational. Screen time is any time spent using the following devices: Tablets. iPods. Smartphones. Laptops. Video games. TV. Screen time based purely on entertainment doesn’t offer much to our kids. But some screen time offers educational benefits, such as: Online homework. Digital books. High-quality TV programs. Interactive tools. Educational apps. By the numbers. Teens spend nine hours a day using media. But screen time starts much younger than that. These are AAP’s screen time recommendations by age:	0 to 18 months – No screen media other than video chatting. 18 to 24 months – Occasional educational screen time, watched with a caregiver. 2 to 5 years – Limit of 1 hour per day of educational screen time, watched with a caregiver. 6 and older – Limited overall screen time that doesn’t interfere with important daily growth functions. In the classroom, 80 percent of learning takes place visually in the first 12 years. It is critical to watch how much and what our children are exposed to through digital media. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, an average day for a healthy kid includes school, homework time, at least 1 hour of physical activity, social contact, meal times and sleep. Whatever’s leftover can be screen time. Quick tips. You can enforce screen time and create a healthy routine. Try: Designating media-free time. Turing off devices when not in use. Avoiding media as a calming device. Keeping devices out of bedrooms. Powering down during meals. Limiting your screen time, too. Using parental control settings. Exploring the library to make reading fun. Visit to create a screen time schedule that works for you and your child.

View the printable version of this infographic.

This article was updated on February 2, 2017.

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