Health Report: How much screen time is too much for kids?

How much screen time is too much for a child?
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 9:03 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - How much screen time is too much for a child?

Is digital media affecting your child’s health?

The surgeon general has issued a new advisory, citing growing concerns about the effects of social media use on the mental health of young people.

Nusheen Ameenuddin, M.D., who practices Pediatric and Adolescent medicine with the Mayo Clinic, said, “We’ve always told parents to try to monitor their children’s online content, to try to limit it, to make sure that it’s not affecting their sleep or their schoolwork or their mood.”

That’s a huge job, said Ameenuddin. Kids can get online, literally, from the palm of their hands. “For parents, I would recommend that they check in with their kids. That they try to find out what kids are doing when they’re online. Are they spending time playing games with friends? Or are they searching for things? Are they using it for schoolwork?”

Excessive use of social media can be related to how it affects your child. “Anything that is affecting your child’s sleep, anything that’s affecting their mood, anything that is affecting their academic performance would be considered excessive use,” Ameenuddin explained.

Screen time can refer to time spent on smartphones, tablets, TVs, or gaming devices. That could mean texting friends, watching videos or movies, playing games, doing homework, and browsing the internet.

The Mayo Clinic recommends setting “no screen” times with your child -- designated periods without screens.