Sedentary youth lifestyles are beginning to plague the newest generation of children. With a wide variety of tv shows, movies, video games, apps, and social media on several types of devices like televisions, tablets, computers, and cell phones, children are spending hours of their day sitting and staring at screens. This increased screen time and decreased physical activity in children have contributed to the rising issue of childhood obesity in the United States especially.
According to the AACAP, 8-12 year old children average 5 hours per day on screens while teens are almost double that at an average of 9 hours per day. In addition to the negative impacts of whatever they might be watching or engaging in on those screens, the encouragement of sedentary behaviors because of these screens can be extremely damaging to their health.
The AACAP has screen time recommendations for children by age:
- Up to 18 months old: Limit screen time to video chatting with adults
- 18 – 24 months: Limit to watching educational programming with a caregiver
- 2-5 years: Limit non-educational to 1 hour per week day or 3 hours on weekends
- 6years+ : Encourage happy habits and and limit screen time activities
They also recommend you remove screens from rooms at bedtime, put them aside for family time activities and meals, and avoid using screens as babysitters or to end tantrums.
One of the biggest ways to limit the screen time of your children is to limit your own screen time! Set a good example and help them build solid screen time habits!