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Screen Time and Kids: How Much is Too Much?

by |  October 31st, 2013
Child watching TVKids’ screen time is no longer limited to the flat screens in our living rooms. There are iPads, iPhones, computers, and on these devices, Face Time, apps and the list goes on.


So, what about interactive media? What’s proper media usage when it comes to kids?

The topic took front and center at this week’s annual American Academy of Pediatrics conference.  The AAP recognized that, well, not all screen time is the same.

While media by itself is not the leading cause of any health problem in the U.S., it can contribute to numerous health risks. At the same time, kids can learn many positive things from pro-social media.

I had the chance to speak on this topic on NPR’s All Things Considered. In its new media usage guidelines, the AAP recommends three tips for parents:

  1. Establish “media diets” to help children learn to be selective and healthy in what they consume. Take an active role in children’s media education by co-viewing programs with them and discussing values.
  2. Make a media use plan, including mealtime and bedtime curfews for media devices. Screens should be kept out of kids’ bedrooms.
  3. Limit screen time to less than one or two hours per day; in children under 2, discourage screen media exposure.

On this last point, we know that babies are interacting in a new way, through touch screens, and that they are doing it really well. So, if you’re planning on using interactive media with your child, do it with your child…because that is valuable time to be with them.


411 Pediatrics


Dr. Ari Brown is a pediatrician and a mom. Dr. Brown is Board Certified and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has been in private practice for over 20 years. Her passion to advocate for children and educate families extends beyond the office setting. She is the co-author the bestselling "411" parenting book series including Expecting 411: Clear Answers and Smart Advice for your Pregnancy, Baby 411, and Toddler 411. Dr. Brown has received several professional awards including the Ralph Feigin, MD Award for Professional Excellence, the prestigious Profiles in Power Award by the Austin Business Journal for her service to the community, Austin's Favorite Pediatrician by Austin Family Magazine, and Texas Monthly Magazine's Super Doctor.

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