How Much Screen Time Is Too Much for Your Child?

How Much Screen Time Is Too Much for Your Child?

When it comes to screen usage for the young, less is best.

The technological era of today has made digital screens a pervasive part of everyday life. Children are particularly drawn to visual media, with most being introduced to it as early as 18 months. Although these devices are excellent learning tools, they can have negative effects on a child’s developing eyes if not used in moderation. In observance of Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, here are the common recommendations of daily screen time for children up to the age of 18.

0-18 Months – No Screen Time
Newborns, infants, and young toddlers should have no screen exposure whatsoever. At this formative age, a child’s visual system is far too undeveloped to handle the degree of sensory stimulation that screens are capable of. Also, with their cognitive development in its early stages, children of this age will derive little meaning and therefore gain little benefit from any content, no matter how educational it is.

18-24 Months – Less Than 1 Hour
This recommendation is disputed. Some researchers believe that no screen time is still best up to the age of 2, whereas others give leeway for quality educational content. Children of this age can also benefit from live video-chat, such as through FaceTime, Zoom, and other applications. Because the child is viewing the image of another person, this type of screen usage supports their natural social development.

2-5 Years – 1-2 Hours
Similar to the last bracket, children of this age should have their screen exposure limited to supervised, age-appropriate content. Their eyes are still developing, of course, but they are no longer quite as vulnerable as they were before, allowing for the uptick in screen usage. As always, less is more, especially if you’re concerned about your child exceeding this recommendation.

6-18 Years – 2 Hours
An increase in screen time becomes inevitable once a child reaches schooling age, which is why the recommended recreational screen time of K-12 students still hovers around the two hour mark. Any more than that, and the limits of their visual system begin to strain, increasing the chances of myopia (nearsightedness). Set limits for digital devices and consider keeping screens out of their bedroom.

Protecting your child’s eyes and overall health are naturally among your top priorities, and we can help you preserve both. Bring your child to Sterling Vision so our experts can keep an eye on their vision and help them meet the challenges of their youth with both confidence and competence. To schedule an appointment with us, call 541-262-0597 or schedule online.