Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Screen Time Limits

Okay, it's summer, and my first suggestion was to RELAX. Does that mean vegging out in front of a screen? How much tv, videos, computer, iTouch, iPad, and iEverything is TOO much? Not surprisingly, I have an opinion, and so do the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the AMA. "Too much" is more than TWO HOURS per day.
Does that sound like a bunch? It does to me, but sadly, the average American kid may have over six hours of screen time per day, by the time you add in all the different media sources.

Does this mean you should never allow your kids a movie marathon day? Of course not. However, unsupervised, many kids would choose to spend their whole summer in front of a screen. Set up the rules at the BEGINNING of the summer, so you're not forced to break a bad habit. Your world does not need to revolve around this schedule. Simply help your kids to be aware that if they want to hang out and watch movies, play Wii, computer games, or text their friends all of one afternoon, they should plan NON-screen activities for the next day.

Another option is to make a rule "no screen time before 4:00pm"- that wouldn't automatically limit screen time to two hours, but it would certainly encourage everyone to find other activities during the day...even if they sleep late.

BOTTOM LINE: Limit TOTAL screen time to TWO HOURS per day.

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