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Why Limiting Kids’ Screen Time Helps Their Health

Qiqi EGR Public Library December 31, 20091
Creative Commons License photo credit: stevendepolo

L imit kids TV, computer and video game time and push books and music!    The next installment in how to teach your kids to LIVE HEA”L”THY.

Let’s face it..we all know that kids spend way to much time in front of the TV, or playing with the computer and video games.  Hey, my 3-year-old is sitting here next to me watching cartoons as I write-up this article!  For me it seems to be a constant “battle” trying to keep my children’s screen time balanced with reading books, listening to music and outdoor time.  For me, too much screen time takes away from them relaxing without electronic stimulation and having time to be creative, imaginative and play.


Studies have pointed out why is it important for kids not to spend too much time in front of screens.  For toddlers,  television can interfere with social and mental development.  For kids over 2 years old, too much screen time can lead to obesity, potentially aggressive behavior and early introduction to risky behaviors such as smoking and drinking.  This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television time for children under 2 years of age and only 1-2 hours of quality television programming for children over 2 years old.  See this webpage  for some good further information on screen time in children.

How to get your children away from the TV, computer and video games and moving toward books, music and creative play?

START EARLY!!! Personally, I think it is easy to get trapped into the screen habits…I know I feel guilty sometimes because I have used the television or a DVD as an electronic babysitter.  I have tried to start early with my kids, when they were babies,  to read to them everyday, to expose them to music and playing outside.  These habits stay with them, just as the habit of watching too much television is hard to break.  Now I have preadolescent children at home (!) and they are also interested in the video games and computers…I encourage them to balance these toys with other activities.  With my son I ask him to read a book or do creative play as much as he plays on his Playstation…A friend has a “no screen time between 10 am-5 pm”  rule at home which I think is a great idea.  And I think sometimes, it just takes turning off the TV and saying to your kids “let’s go outside and play together!”   And you readers, how do you control your kids screen time?  Do you feel it is important?  I would love to hear from you…

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3 Responses to Why Limiting Kids’ Screen Time Helps Their Health

  1. mbrighton April 18, 2010 at 09:35 #

    Hi Morag, I think your situation is typical of many families, especially your comment about the TV is on for background noise. I admire your will to hold off video consoles until 10 years old. I think that is a good idea. It also depends on the child, some are more attached to video games than others. My oldest was also 10 when she got her first console (a DSI). Unfortunately she went from not using it too much, to spending hours on it (like yesterday morning). I had to take it away and told her she can have it back in a couple of days. (I had warned her that this might happen).. It is so difficult sometimes to strike that balance, to try to be fair to everyone, especially when you have a large family. Keep positive!

  2. Morag April 18, 2010 at 08:38 #

    TV is a problem in our house (even for the adults!) but I have decided that the kids don’t have any computer consoles until the oldest is 10, and even then it will be limited. My TV seems to just fade into the background (which probably shows how much it is on) but that is because I have to please different ages, at the moment it’s the youngest getting a dose of her winnie the pooh, and earlier before she was up the older boys were watching something with a little more action… But they do watch a lot more during weekend than weekdays. Depending if we have something planned or not 🙂 TV in my own life is a time waster, kids in bed and I switch it on… This is also because I don’t watch things I want to see in front of the kids, but not an excuse for the amount of time wasted… Balance is the key, maybe one day 🙂

  3. Personala atlase April 14, 2010 at 18:12 #

    Not bad article, but I really miss that you didn’t express your opinion, but ok you just have different approach

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