It can be hard for parents to understand how much screen time is too much for their child.
Screen time is something that will always be hot on the lips of parents.
There is so much conflicting advice out there that it can be hard to really understand how much
is too much for your child.
In a recent episode of Motherboard
, Ollwyn Moran, a Neurological Developmental Therapist and founder of COGNIKIDS
, explains that the recommended length of time varies from age to age.
In fact, according to the mum-of-two, children under the age of two should not be exposed to screens for several reasons:
- Their brains are not fully developed
- Radiation from screens has a significant impact on children’s brains from 0-2
- Screens can damage little one’s eyes
And while The American Paediatric Association recommends that you gradually introduce 30 minutes of screen time from the age of 3-4, Ollwyn says that you need to be very careful with what the content is.
"What do you want them to get out of this?" is the question the mum wants you to ask yourself every time your child wants to go online.
But why, as parents, should we be concerned about how long our child is looking at a screen for?
A recent ERSI study
found that the younger a child is given a phone, the more likely they will end up with lower academic scores later in life.
And Ollwyn believes that as humans are sensory beings, we need to have social interactions in order to grow and develop.
And if these don’t happen in childhood, they can have a knock-on effect for adulthood.
Talking to the panel, Ollwyn said that children may even develop autistic-like traits from excessive screen time, such as a lack of eye contact. However, this can sometimes be down to the parents’ use of devices.
Ollwyn says that parents overuse of screens can have various impacts on their child –
- Impact on their sense of self
- Impact on their speech & language development
- Impacts ability to hold eye contact
So what is the recommended length of time for each age group?
- For children under 18 months: avoid screen time (except video-chatting).
- For children 18-24 months: no more than a half an hour per day of screen time alongside an adult. Try to avoid solo screen use in this age group.
- Children 3-5 years: an hour of screen time per day.
- For children over the age of 6: 2 hours or less of sedentary screen time daily.
How can you reduce the amount of screen time?
In a report published by the HSE, reducing your child’s screen time by 30 minutes every day will bring real benefits.
The HSE's Start
campaign advises parents make bedrooms completely screen-free, set a limit on the amount of time that your child can use it, have screen-free zones.