Is Ten Hours Too Much Screen Time? Why Parents May Want To Place Digital Limits

Sep 24, 2015 by

by John Dodig

As you’ve probably noticed, we spend a lot of time looking at screens. (You’re doing it right now.)

Writers have tackled the subject of screen time as it affects both adults and children, and attitudes range from the alarmist — that it’s rendering children incapable of empathizing — to the blasé — that it’s “probably fine.”

But what are the academic outcomes associated with unprecedented amounts of screen time? Here’s what we know about how screen time affects learning — and the data-backed recommendations that can help you deal with the barrage of screens in your child’s day-to-day life.

Baseline Statistics

How much time kids spend on devices is notoriously difficult to nail down, but even conservative estimates are quite high. Many official recommendations are out of touch with daily life, much of which (for teenagers, at least) is spent within arm’s reach of a phone. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids under two not be exposed to screens at all (though nearly 30% of babies under the age of one watch 90 minutes of TV a day), and advises those aged three to 18 not to exceed two hours of screen use per day.

Common Sense Media says kids under eight spend two hours a day looking at screens, while sixth-graders in a UCLA study self-reported more than four hours of screen use daily. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that eight- to 18-year-old kids spend more than ten hours a day on screens — though when they subtract overlapping time they spend with more than one screen visible, this number falls to 7 hours and 38 minutes. (This staggering figure, by the way, doesn’t include sending or receiving texts, activities that the average seventh- to 12th-grader does for more than 90 minutes a day.)

In School

One third-grade class in the relatively wealthy suburban town of Mineola, New York, spends the whole day (more or less) with iPads. The district initially turned to tablets in the hope that these digital tools would help kids prepare for the difficult Common Core exams. Since then, the children’s teacher sees no reason to fight what she views as a trend in the world at large.

Source: Is Ten Hours Too Much Screen Time? Why Parents May Want To Place Digital Limits – Forbes

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