Summer Screen Time: How Much is Too Much?

Summertime means more free time for youth. Without the school day to occupy them, many children and teens find themselves entertained by TV, websites and digital devices.  While these devices can be comforting on a rainy day or a necessary means of decompressing, many parents may wonder: How is screen time affecting the health and development of the youth in our lives?

The answer is in the research:

  • By the time children turn 10 years old, every additional hour of television they watched as toddlers is associated with lower math and school achievement, reduced physical activity and victimization by classmates in middle childhood (JAMA Pediatrics).
  • For every hour of television children watch, they are 8 percent less likely to eat fruit every day, 18 percent more likely to eat candy and 16 percent more likely to eat fast food (Time).

Meeting the needs of human connection and holistic support are key to the healthy development of all youth—and there’s a real concern by many youth development specialists that screen time may be replacing those critical moments in a child’s life.  

So, how much summer screen time is too much?

According to the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards, you should eliminate screen time for children under two years of age. For children over two, screen time should be limited to less than 30 minutes per day and less than one hour per day for ages six and up.

We realize that limiting time on electronics, or eliminating them all together, might be difficult. If you decide to allow your children to use electronics - try having them earn it! Check out this list of summer rules children can do to earn the recommended screentime each day. (By Thirty Handmade Days

These rules will teach children responsibility and encourage them to keep their minds and bodies active this summer! Get a printable version HERE.