How to limit screen time for kids

Learn how to limit screen time for kids — to head off effects such as depression, anxiety and suicide.

Limiting screen time can be hard for parents. It can be alarming how challenging it is to set and stick to limits on how much time children spend looking a screen. Parents may be concerned about how screen time will affect their children when they are old enough to begin texting, following social media and accessing the internet more freely. Do you know how to limit screen time for kids?

The effect of screen time on kids

Children’s health and wellness experts know the effects of screen time on brain development. Studies show a correlation between excessive screen time and depression, anxiety and suicide among young people. It can be hard for parents who realize the dangers of excessive screen time for kids but struggle to find a balance in their own families. It seems that the more we connect online, the less connected we can be as a family.

The reality is screens are here to stay, and it’s up to parents to figure out healthy solutions.

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How to limit screen time for kids

  • Talk about what is a reasonable amount of screen time. Try to stick to two hours or less per day.
  • Define appropriate use of electronics. Are there sites and apps that should be off-limits?
  • Talk about cyberbullying. What are kids talking about on social media? How do we stand up to bullying and practice compassion and positive communication?
  • Have “Tech Talk Tuesdays.” Discuss what is appropriate to post on social media.
  • Use parental controls. Look for apps that track screen time and create quiet times.
  • Ensure screen-free sleep environments. Sleeping near a small screen or having a TV in the room can lead to sleep problems — and 75% of teens don’t get adequate sleep.
  • Lead by example. Parents need to put their phones down and have face-to-face conversations.