How Much Screen Time Should You Allow Young Children?

Canadian pediatricians set limits for the first time

The Canadian Pediatric Society has released its first recommendations for on-screen time for kids. None – for those two and under, and no more than one hour for those aged 2-5, with all screens turned off 60-minutes before bedtime. Doctors suggest parents start making a family media plan even before their child is born, outlining when, where and how screens may be used. It’s easier, they say, easier to set limits early rather than scale back later on. Other considerations include:

  • HOW MANY SCREENS?: If you own a smartphone, tablet, TV and computer, which ones do you allow your children to access? Research suggests that while TV still dominates total screen time, and appears to be increasing for children aged three to five, many preschoolers are now carrying around portable devices that boost how many hours they spend with digital screens.
  • WHAT DO YOU WATCH?: Consider the programs you watch with your children and which ones they view alone. Do they encounter either adult or commercial programming? The organization suggests parents engage with their children when they watch educational, age-appropriate content as it helps them connect the content with real life.
  • HOW DO YOU USE SCREENS?: Do you turn on the TV for your kids while doing chores? If so, how often are you using screens as a distraction? Are you distracted by screens? Parents say they’re finding their own use of mobile technology is causing them extra stress and reducing their ability to interact “in the moment” with their children, the report says.
  • ARE SCREENS USED IN YOUR ABSENCE?: Ask whether your child’s daycare program uses screen-based activities. If they do, then how frequently are they being used?