How much screen time is too much screen time during COVID-19?
Screen time is the amount of time your child spends using a device that has a screen. It includes time spent watching television, browsing the internet, using a cell phone and playing video games. Then the pandemic happened. Online learning and communication between friends and families have all transitioned online, increasing the time spent on devices.
According to the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP):
- Children aged 2 and under: no screen time
- Children aged 2 to 4: less than one hour a day of screen time
- Children and teens aged 5 to 17: maximum of two hours a day of recreational screen time (watching television, messaging friends or playing computer games)
Excess screen time can be unhealthy. Over-usage can lead to:
- Isolation from friends and family;
- Aggressive or tense;
- Loss of interest in things other than screen media;
- Deceptive, sneaking in screen time;
- Addicted to more screen time; and
- Emotional outbursts.
These warning signs can lead to higher risks of child obesity, have less energy, have a lower academic performance and are more influenced to propaganda, advertisements and commercials.
By watching these signs, parents can prevent overuse of screen time and ensure their child remains healthy both mentally and physically. Strategies that parents can use to limit screen time includes setting limits through the use of an app, spending family time by reading books and engaging in activities away from devices, encouraging physical play and remaining proactive when observing behavioural change.