For Children 2 Years and Up, Watching TV, Playing Video Games, Or Using a Computer Should be Limited to How Much Time a Day?

As a responsible grandparent, you want to limit the time your grandchildren spend in front of the television, watching DVDs or playing video games.

English: A child watching TV.

A child watching TV. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, how much is enough?

How much is too much?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a recommendation.

A pediatrician, professor and mother of two, Dr. Amanda Soong, recently asked 49 grandparents what they thought the recommendation was.

The results were presented at AAP’s annual conference and reported on

The bad news is only 4.1% of the grandparents got the right answer.

The good news is the rest of them thought screen time ought to be less than AAP’s recommendation of the maximum time that should be allowed a day.

Here were the possible answers and what the grandparents said.

  • 30 minutes (34.7% of grandparents picked this answer)
  • 60 minutes (53.1%)
  • 90 minutes (8.2%)
  • 120 minutes (4.1%)

120 minutes is the right answer, although on AAP’s site it says one to two hours.

Since most grandparents said less than two hours, I would give them credit for their good sense on this question.

Note, AAP did not say a child over two should get at least 120 minutes a day, like brushing your teeth every day.

They said, including all screen input, from computers to tvs to DVDs, a child over two should get no more than two hours a day.

Since reports say that kids are actually getting an average of five hours of screen time a day, grandparents’ instincts are in the right direction.

What Are the Risks?

The more screen time, the higher the risk for:

  • Being overweight, with its increased risk for diabetes
  • Susceptibility to food commercials, many of which are for junk food
  • Violence in later life if exposed to violent media
  • Lower academic achievement
  • Alcohol and drug abuse.

What Are They Not Doing?

One of the most useful AAP articles on tv watching asks the question, “When your child or grandchild is watching tv, what are they not doing?

What are they giving up for passive entertainment?

Here’s AAP’s list of what they are not doing:

  • Asking questions
  • Solving problems
  • Being creative
  • Exercising initiative
  • Practicing eye-hand coordination
  • Scanning (useful in reading)
  • Practicing motor skills
  • Thinking critically, logically, and analytically
  • Practicing communication skills
  • Playing interactive games with other children or adults (helpful for developing patience, self-control, cooperation, sportsmanship)

And, that doesn’t even include the lack of exercise when your grandchildren are sitting in front of a screen.

Two hours max. Less is better.

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How much time did your kids used to spend in front of the tv?

Now that your grandchildren have access to DVDs and computers, how much time do they spend a day?

Is it more or less at your house?

To you and keeping your grandchildren happy, entertained and active.

Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers


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