Allowing your children long periods in front of a screen can seem innocent enough, but are you aware of the age-appropriate recommendations for your kids?
Most kids love a bit of TV time. Or video game sessions. Or iPad play. In fact, 4-5 year old Aussie kids are averaging more than two hours on a screen on weekdays while 12-13 year olds are clocking up more than three hours on weekdays and four hours on weekends. But the Australian Government’s Department of Health advises “kids who spend long periods of time inactive are more likely to have poor physical, social and intellectual development.” You can read more about the importance of kids being active here.
No parent wants this. So how much time in front of a screen is too much for your child? And what are the repercussions of too much screen time?
SCREEN TIME RECOMMENDATIONS
Age Maximum Screen time/day
Less than 2 Zero hours 2 to 5
2 to 5 <One hour
5 to 17 Two hours
TOO MUCH TV OR OTHER SCREENS
The risks associated with excessive exposure to screens can include:
- Strained eyes and poor posture
- Poor sleep due to disruption of sleep hormones and night terrors
- A less active lifestyle meaning less outdoor and creative play time
- School problems and behavioural issues
- Slower development of language skills
- Poor social skills
- Increased risk of being overweight
- Exposure to violence
As parents, it is up to us to find a balance of screen time that suits our families, keeping in mind the benefits and risks associated with time on the lounge, on the phone or logged onto the laptop.
Stephanie Meekings is a Digital Media Officer at Cairns Catholic Education