Screen time for young children: What’s healthy and what’s realistic?

Children growing up today live in a world where smartphones and tablets have always existed and their favorite television shows are available on demand any time of day or night. But since today’s doctors and medical experts didn’t grow up in a fully digital world, it has been challenging to understand the amount of entertainment screen time that is healthy for young children.

In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a policy statement recommending that children under age two should be discouraged from any screen time at all and children over age two should have no more than two hours of screen time per day. But this week, the AAP announced in a new policy statement that it is rethinking those recommendations in order to keep the pace with digital innovation in society.

We asked parents of young children age 1-5 in a 2014 NPCH Report about their children’s media use and how they manage entertainment screen time at home. More than a quarter of parents said their children age 2-5 have three or more hours of entertainment screen time per day. Over half of parents said they manage their children’s screen time by limiting the locations where children are allowed to use screens. But 13% of parents set no limits on the amount of time or the location where their children can use screens. Read the full report - Screening out screen time: Parents limit media use for young children.

Parents' Rules for Screen Time for Young Children

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NPCH Director and Pediatrician Dr. Matt Davis talks more about these results in this short video:

What do you think?:
Is two hours per day a reasonable amount of screen time for your children? Share your experiences in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter!