Screen Time Recommendations By Age

Kids screen time

We all know the importance of healthy screen consumption habits. From childhood, it's been encouraged for parents to promote them among their children and that includes different types like television, computer, tablet or mobile devices. The use of screens should never subtract hours from those recommended for sleeping, eating, doing physical activities. In addition, it must also not interfere with school and the duties assigned to you at school and at home. However, 2020 made us come face to face with realities such as the boredom of the child who had to stay at home all day or the use of screens for education.

The UNICEF developed a guide with recommendations of the use of digital devices and media based on kids' ages.

Kids screen time

Recommendation of the time of use of screens in children

  • Children from 0 to 2 years old, no exposure time is recommended.
  • Children from 2-6 years old spend no more than one hour per day on screens. If you want your kid to be able to see what they're watching, then it must happen while supervised by an adult or parent.
  • Children from 7 to 12 years old, maximum one hour and a half a day with parental supervision. School activities may require more screen activity, always supervised.
  • Children from 12 to 15 years old, maximum one hour and a half a day with orientation for the use of social media platforms. It is an age in which technology may be required more frequently, but always with the guidance of parents.
  • For teenagers over 16 years old, the recommendation has been a maximum of two hours a day and without television in the rooms, as mobile phones or tablets are already replacing the television. What is recommended is that parents explain the correct use of these devices and the consequences for their brain and socialization when they are abused, but letting the child begin to make decisions.

The year 2020 made us reflect on the need to teach children to manage content and not have boredom as an excuse for the screen.

kids screen time

Recommendations of when screens should not be used

  • The use of screens should be restricted one hour before bedtime as it can interfere with their sleep hours.
  • Mealtime is an important moment for physical health and to share with the family, do not allow the child to use screens at mealtimes.
  • At times of walk, you have to make sure that the screens stay at home, do not give screens to a child who rides in the car or goes to a park. These are times to interact with people, enjoy nature and exercise.
  • The use of screens was recommended to be limited when doing homework or going to school, however, this is a recommendation that was questioned after 2020, since the use of screens made many children at home been able to continue with their studies. In any case, it must be supervised and directed by parents and teachers.
  • It should be limited to times that require the child's full attention such as crossing the street, cooking, driving, or while talking with parents.

It's not easy to have screen rules at home when your classmates, neighbors, or other family members don't, even when parents don't follow them. For this reason, talking to the child about the reasons for the rules, the danger of not having them and instilling good habits are the best tools you have to use the screen appropriately at home.

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