Harmful Effects of Children Looking at Screens for Too Long

Posted in Youth / Children / Families

Harmful Effects of Children Looking at Screens for Too Long

Now that schools are closing for the holidays, children will be spending more time at home and have more access to screen time (phones, computers, tablets, gaming, televisions). 

Did you know that how much time your children spend looking at screens can have harmful effects on their development? 

What is the right amount of screen time for my child?

•For children under 2 years old, screen time is not recommended. 

•For children 2 to 5 years old, try to limit daily screen time to less than 1 hour per day. 

•Screen time for children 5 years and older should be limited as well. 

Why should I limit my child’s screen time?

When children are looking at screens, they are not being active, developing their social and communication skills, playing outdoors, exploring or creating. 

Too much screen time also increases your child’s risk of:
•becoming overweight
•not getting enough sleep 
•not doing well in school
•behavioural problems (not being able to pay attention, becoming aggressive, unable self-control). 

How can I set screen time limits at home?

Setting limits when children are young is easier than reducing it when they’re older. 

Here are some tips:
•Be a good role model by limiting your own use of phones, tablets, televisions, etc. 
•Turn off devices for mealtimes, reading with your child or doing things together as a family. 
•Turn off screens when no one is using them, especially background TV.
•Avoid using screens for at least 1 hour before bedtime and keep all screens out of your child’s bedroom. They interfere with sleep. 
•Choose healthy activities, like reading, outdoor play and crafts, over screen time.

For more information on screen time guidelines, see http://csepguidelines.ca/


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