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SCREEN TIME AND GADGET USE IN CHILDREN

  • With the advent of technology and increased access to television, mobile phones and gadgets, it is always good to know what should guide our use of these devices when it comes to children. Here is an overview of some guidelines:

How much screen time should my child be allowed every day?

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following:
    Discourage any screen media exposure for children under 18-24 months except for video chatting.
    Limit entertainment screening to less than 1-2 hours/day for children above age 2.
    If children need to use screens for school, this is outside the limits for entertainment screen time.

Is watching TV really bad for children?

  • It depends on how much and what kind of TV. There are plenty of wonderful TV shows for kids of all ages. If you are choosing high quality, age appropriate programmes and making sure kids love plenty of active and social time, you should not feel guilty about letting them watch some television.

What precautions need to be taken when it comes to children and television?

  • Background TV: A constantly running TV can interfere with parent-child interactions, which children need for healthy development.
  • Bedroom TV: A child with a TV in the bedroom watches a lot more TV and is exposed to more age inappropriate content.
  • Parents who watch a lot of TV: Children pick up their parents’ habits and end up watching more adult shows.

When can my child be given a mobile phone?

  • Currently, there is no evidence-based recommendation regarding when a child should get a phone. A common rule of thumb is around the ages of 13-15 years because kids are more out on their own and might need to use it to text, call etc. It is important to maintain rules about phone use.

What is age inappropriate content?

  • Exposure to images of violence, sex and alcohol, harsh language can not only influence kids’ behaviour but can have a long-lasting emotional impact.

What happens if my child gets too much screen time?

  • The following are the most common problems observed in children who get too much screen time:


    1. Obesity
    2. Sleep disturbances
    3. Attention deficit
    4. Eye problems
    5. Poor communication skills
    6. Emotional instability

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