Limiting Screen Time is Good for Kids

Many kids spend more time in front of a screen than any other thing they do. And it’s not good for their health.

Too much screen time can be linked to:

  • acting out violence
  • doing poorly in school
  • lower reading scores
  • sleep problems
  • being overweight
  • eating junk food
  • bad habits later in life (like using tobacco and drinking too much alcohol)

Screen time can help teach kids and make them move more. But it's all too easy to use it too often and for too long. Health experts say to limit screen time to:

  • Less than 2 hours a day for teens.
  • Less than 1 hour a day for children ages 2 through 12, and
  • No screen time for children under 2.

Help your kids find other things to enjoy.

Tips for using less screen time

  • Turn off the TV during meals; then the family eat and talk together.
  • Keep computers, TVs, and video game consoles out of kids' bedrooms. Take cell phones, tablets, and iPods out of the bedroom at night.
  • Don't use screen time as a reward.
  • Make certain days of the week as screen-free days.
  • Be a good model: limit your own screen time to 2 hours a day or less

What you can do instead

  • Be active as a family by taking walks, riding bikes, or playing sports or active games together.
  • Do something active for at least 60 minutes each day.
  • Set up screen-free play dates.
  • Give your kids time to write a story, draw, or make an art project.

If you have a toddler or preschooler

Keep your little one busy, safe, and happy when you are trying to get something done. Here are other ways to keep them busy when you're fixing meals and for other times:

  • Set up a kitchen play area with a spoon and small bowl, pans, or toys.
  • Get kids 3 and older to help (set the table, or tear lettuce for salad).
  • Ask an older brother or sister, or neighbor to keep the kids safely amused.
  • Recorded books (libraries have these) are great for when you can't do the reading yourself.
  • Young children can be so creative with some tape or glue and household items. Use things such as toilet paper tubes, cereal cartons, fabric scraps (or worn-out clothes), egg cartons, and lids.

Source: 2016 Kaiser Permanente; www.healthykaiserpermanente.org

For more ideas on living well, call Four Corners Health Department at 877-337-3573. Visit our website at www.fourcorners.ne.gov. Be sure to Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.