It is no longer just the television or the computer that young children are glued to these days as smart phones and tablets have made it even more difficult for parents to limit the screen time for their kids.
Researchers have now found setting limits by location (banning media devices in the bedroom or at mealtime), rather than counting the minutes, may be a good way to start the process of limiting screen time.
“The most common approaches to limiting screen time have more to do with location than counting minutes,” said Matthew M. Davis, a professor at University of Michigan Health System.
“That makes sense. It is easier to say no smartphones at the table, than to be watching the clock,” Davis added.
Three to four hours a day screen time means kids may be losing out on other important activities that they should be engaging in, such as playing outside, reading a book or going for walks.
The researchers found in their survey that in the US, 25 percent of parents who have children aged two to five said their children get three or more hours of entertainment screen time a day, well beyond recommended limits.
A little more than half of those parents try to set some limits by location, revealed the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages any screen time for children less than two years of age. For older children, the AAP recommends no more than two hours daily.
The national conversation about children and screen time has to expand to include quality as well as quantity, recommended the researchers.