A young girl engaged in watching a video on a smartphone

How Much Screen Time Is Too Much?


From using smartphones to communicate to watching TV for entertainment, today’s children are growing up surrounded by technology and screens. As children grow and get tablets and TVs of their own, parents often begin to worry – how much time is too much for children to spend engaged with technology? Where do we draw the line?

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Guidelines
For many years, the AAP has recommended strict control over young children’s media consumption, as too much can have an adverse effect on long-term learning and development. But in a society dominated by smartphones and TVs, many parents likely feel that keeping young children completely separated from technology is an impossible challenge.

Recently, the AAP released new recommendations for children’s media use that recognize, for the first time, the universal presence of technology in children’s lives. The guidelines suggest:

  • Avoiding most screen media (other than video chatting) for children younger than 18 months
  • Placing a one hour per day screen time limit for children ages 2-5, co-viewing with children during that time if possible
  • Teaching children how to use technology as a tool to create, connect and learn
  • Designating media-free times, such as during dinner or while driving

At Primrose, we believe it’s important to nurture children’s digital literacy skills in developmentally appropriate ways that go beyond teaching them how to use devices like computers and tablets. For example, in our preschool classrooms, we use a variety of educational mobile apps, such as MoMA Art Lab and Book Creator, to help children extend learning about weekly themes, develop art skills and build a strong vocabulary.

Parent Resources
With nurturing guidance from adults, children can interact with technology in ways that help them learn skills essential to their later success. To learn more about screen time guidelines and choosing the right educational technologies for your child, we invite you to check out these helpful resources:

Media Guidelines for Preschoolers That Every Parent Should Know
Not sure where to begin setting screen time boundaries for your family? These five tips – which spell the easy-to-remember acronym M.E.D.I.A. – will help guide how you approach your preschooler’s media use.
Read more >

Developmentally Optimal Media Tips for Infants and Toddlers
Screen time guidelines for infants and toddlers are strict, and it may seem difficult to keep your infant or toddler away from screens. Use these five simple tips to find media uses that have the most positive effects possible in young children’s lives.
Read more >

The 3 Cs for Choosing the Right Technology (Mobile Apps) for Children
Thousands of mobile apps claim to be educational, but many don’t offer any true benefits for your child’s long-term learning. These 3 Cs will help you find mobile apps that provide a valuable learning experience for your preschooler.
Read more >

How Much is Too Much? Guidelines on Screen Time for Children If you’re looking for a deeper understanding of how to create healthy screen time guidelines for your family, check out this three-part Q&A series with Dr. Dipesh Navsaria of Reach Out and Read to learn a number of tips.
Read more >

 

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About the Author

Dr. Gloria Julius serves as vice president of education and professional development for Primrose Schools and has more than 35 years of education experience. She has a genuine passion for leading teams of teachers, staff, parents and students to help create high-quality educational experiences. Gloria enjoys sharing her thoughts and advice as a mother and grandmother and helping parents navigate the challenges of building the right foundation for their little ones!