What can you—as an employer, a school, a child care provider, or another community-based organization—do to help families unplug at home and limit recreational screen time to a maximum of two hours per day?
Educating parents, children, and families about what is healthy—and what the consequences of excessive screen time are—is one strategy. But you can also support their efforts to reduce screen time by making alternative activities available. Try offering activity kits.
Lots of us express a desire to "be healthier," and to "raise healthy children," but what does that mean, exactly? Health and wellness tips may be widely available, but sometimes they feel contradictory and confusing. How do you know which sources to trust?
Our friends at Let's Go! created a simple slogan to help you remember four ways to be healthy every day: 5-2-1-0. These research-proven recommendations come from experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Excessive screen time is associated with increased risk for overweight and obesity, lower reading scores, and attention problems in school. But what constitutes "screen time" and what is excessive?
What is "screen time"?
Screen time includes time spent watching TV, playing video games, using a computer, and using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. "Recreational screen time" refers to use for non-educational purposes.
Consider this: as new technologies and devices have become popular, they haven't replaced the old ones. For example, tablets and smart phones have not replaced television and video games—instead, they have actually added to the amount of time kids spend engaged with screens.
Children spend an average of 7 hours per day watching television, playing video games and surfing the internet, even though research suggests that more than 2 hours of recreational screen time daily is associated with poor health, overweight and obesity. For children under the age of 2, no screen time is advised.
It is easy for recreational screen time to rack up, especially when it is used to fill transition periods or as a “quiet time” activity in child care settings, out-of-school programs, and at home. Take time to assess how much screen time kids are getting while in your care, and, if needed, create an action plan to replace that time with more constructive, healthy activities. We can help.