How Much Screen Time Is Enough for Kids?

There’s no doubt that kids are mesmerized by the flashing images they see on their screens, and there are not many parents who can say that they’ve never used a television how to keep their kids occupied while they cooked dinner or took a quick phone call. While technology also holds educational value, one can’t help but worry about what too much screen time is doing to children’s eyes and overall health.

Figuring out how much screen time to give your kids can vary according to factors such as their age and general development. However, you can look at what the professionals are saying to come up with a reasonable schedule for using electronic devices.

What Do the Experts Say?

When remote learning was in full swing, parents often didn’t have much choice about having their kids sit in front of the computer, but you also might have noticed that it wasn’t ideal. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids two years of age and up should have only an hour or less of screen time each day. Keep in mind that they also recommend making sure that the screen time is used for quality purposes, such as doing research for a school project.

How Does Screen Time Affect Children’s Eyes?

If you ask your child’s ophthalmologist about screen time, you’ll likely find that they agree that less is best. In addition to leading to behavioral issues, too much screen time can affect your child’s eye health. Staring at a screen can lead to eye fatigue, which might present as headaches in your child. Blurry vision is also common among kids who spend too much time on computers or smartphones. Your kid might also develop dry eyes from failing to blink enough as they stare transfixed at the screen.

How Can You Reduce the Impact of Screen Time?

Making sure to stay within the recommended guidelines for screen time is important, but you’ll also want to monitor your child while they are using their devices. Ideally, your child should take regular breaks away from the screen that includes looking away every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds. During times when they might be using a device for more than an hour for school purposes, you’ll want to have them take a 10-minute break before returning to their work.

Teaching your child how to manage their screen time helps them to learn how to preserve their vision as they mature into adults. While they might whine a little now, they’ll be glad later when they have reduced eye strain that can lead to serious problems. As you make your screen time management plan, remember that serious symptoms might not be typical. If your child still has excessive headaches, blurred vision, or dryness after reducing their screen time, then check in with their eye specialist to make sure there isn’t a different underlying cause.