Screen Time and your Child

Screen time is the period of time that is spent playing video games, watching TV, using computers and mobile phones. It can be recreational, interactive, educational or non-interactive. Let’s look deeper into its effects on you and your child. 

Various Benefits of Screen Time

  • Break time for parents – Screen time may act as a babysitter for a short period of time, allowing you time to take care of other things in the house. 
  • Bonding experience – This can boost the bond between the parent and the child through a one on one interaction. You can do this when playing video games, or singing along musical videos etc. 
  • Educative – There are various TV programs that are educational and beneficial. Such programs contribute literacy skills whereby a child is able to recognize letters, shapes and sounds.

Recommended Screen Time for Children

It is vital to recognize the recommended time for screen use to avoid negative effects. 

  • 0 – 18 months – should be limited to videos that stimulate their brains and motor skills. 
  • 18-24 months – should be engaged actively in high quality media whereby parents participate so as to help them understand the content that they are watching.
  • 2-5 years – should be limited to at least 1 hour of high quality media. Parents should watch alongside them for guidance and to assist the child to connect to the real world through media.
  • 6 and above –  should have an already established and consistent screen time limit to ensure that they do not interfere with their sleep time or other social activities.

Harmful Risks of Too Much Screen Time

Whether the children are being monitored or not, too much screen time can be harmful. Here’s how:-

  • Obesity may be experienced as children who spend their time seated on the screen either watching TV or playing video games have no time to exercise.
  • Children get affected by light from the media and this may likely cause insomnia. 
  • Spending too much time on screen may interfere with the relationship between you and your child as they may choose to pay more attention to the screen.

Other Activities that Children Can Take Part In

There are numerous activities that children can be involved in for real play other than screen time. These include:-

  • Nature walk – This can be done in the afternoon or in the morning. This enables both the parent and the child to exercise and explore nature. 
  • Art and Craft This is an activity that can familiarize a child with colors and shapes. It may be messy but the child will be able to improve in creativity. 
  • Sensory play- is also an activity that enables the child to play with materials such as beans, rice, clay, soil and so forth. This activity is recommendable before bath time as it may get messy during play time.
  • Story-tellingReading a book before bedtime is yet another activity that possibly sends the child off to sleep especially if they take longer to fall asleep. In addition, when the child is more relaxed, he/she may absorb information faster and can easily answer questions. 



Please note that development differs from one child to another. 

Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.


Last reviewed March 2019

Sources: chilldad, thriveglobal, tribobot, verywellfamily

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