Who doesn’t love picking up their phone and checking out their friends’ adventures on FB or Instagram? Do any of us have a teen who doesn’t like watching funny YouTube videos or texting and connecting with their friends on social media? What about our little ones and all those great learning games you can download on your phone or cute videos that make them laugh? When does the fun on “screens” become harmful?
Almost daily we read about issues screens are causing from depression, anxiety, and insomnia in teens and adults to behavior problems, sleep issues, and social and speech delay in toddlers and grade school children. Research is ongoing to help us determine, to misquote Shakespeare, “To screen or not to screen?” Seriously though, as pediatricians we are doing our best to keep up with the research and share it with you, so we can all raise healthy, happy kids.
One thing is pretty clear. Anything over 2 hours of screen time is causing serious developmental, educational, psychological and medical issues in everyone. The suicide rate has tripled in our youth over the last 10 years and researchers are blaming it on “screens.”
We realize the following advice is radical, but we want to join forces with you and help each other find a healthy balance with our screen usage.
HERE’S OUR ADVICE:
0-2 years old: absolutely no screen time (meaning no tv, movies, phones, or tablets). Of course, it is ok to Facetime loved ones.
2-4 years old: only 1 hour of screens a day and make it "good quality", such as Sesame Street or a learning television show.
AVOID TABLETS, iPHONES, iPADS UNTIL OVER 4 YEARS OLD.
5 years old and up: max 1-2 hours of screen time per day.
- No cell phones until 13 or 14 years old, or phones only for emergency calls.
- No cell phones, TV, iPads, tablets, game systems or computers in kids/teens' bedroom.
- No electronics/screens during meal time
- No electronics 1 hour before bedtime.
We have an excellent “Get Out and Play” handout with a list of media free things to do in the Phoenix area. Click here for links to all the latest research.
Together we can make a difference!
Your doctors at GDP