Family Screen Time: How much screen time is too much for your kids?

Local News

Whether it’s a cell phone or a computer, nowadays we’re all spending more time on screens than ever before. 

For some kids, excessive screen time can create obsessive and unhealthy habits, leading some parents to set limits on their child’s daily screen time. 2 NEWS sat down with an expert to ask about the impact. We also sat down with a local family who put some of those limits in place. 

Bright lights. Eyes glued to the screen fixated on the sights and sounds. 

“They would come home,” Jessica Davis said. “And just gravitate right to it.” 

Davis has 3 children; 3-year-old David, 6-year-old Damon and 8-year-old Danica. 

“Mostly I like playing games,” Danica Davis said. “On my kindle.” 

Danica and her brother Damon both have kindles they use to read, watch movies and play games. It was something they got for Christmas, but over time their mom noticed it started coming first before anything else. 

“We noticed that the kids were just coming home, throwing their backpacks down and just going and plopping down with the screen,” Jessica said. “And we’re like we can’t keep this going on.” 

Dr. Melissa King at Dayton Children’s Hospital see’s this issue first-hand. 

“They become very attached to them,” Dr. King said. “To where it’s almost an obsessive thought for them.” 

Excessive screen time, she says, can a have a major impact on a child’s focus and daily function. 

“They are not getting out and being physically active,” Dr. King said. “They are not getting involved in as many activities because that screen time is taking away from the that and their ability to handle conflict. They’re ability to handle peer interaction and conflict resolution gets impaired.” 

See more of what Dr. King had to say about screen time In this WDTN.com Web Extra.

That’s why she encourages her parents to set limits and that’s exactly what Davis did. 

“We started putting some rules down,” Jessica said. “Like before you can get on your screen, you have to read us a book.” 

She limited her children’s screen time to no more than 1 hour a day and only after dinner and after homework. 

Danica: “I said those were horrible directions.” 

Jordan: “You weren’t very happy about it?” 

Danica: “No.” 

It took some time, but eventually, Danica and her siblings came around. 

“A couple days later I actually thought that it was a good idea,” Danica said. “Because I don’t want to have to end up doing my morning work, my homework in the morning.” 

For kids 0-2, Dr. King recommends they have no screen time. For kids 2-17, she says no more than 2 hours per day. She says the same goes for adults, not including screen time at work. 

“It’s been working,” Jessica said. “A lot better.” 

Davis says now the family spends less time apart on their screens and more time together. And if the weather is nice, she says her kids aren’t allowed any screen time for the day. 

“It’s a lot smoother,” Jessica said. “They’re happy with it. We’re happy with it.” 

Dr. King recommends parents come up with their own screen time plan for their family. You can input your information and create an interactive plan online. To do so, click here or build your plan below.

What do the rules regarding devices in your home look like? Do you have rules?  Take this short quiz to see how your plan stacks up.

App users click here to take the quiz and build a screen time plan

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