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IOWA Magazine | June 2019
Ask an Expert: How Much Screen Time Should Children Have?
UI pediatrician Miriam Gardner answers a common parenting question.
Miriam
Gardner PHOTO: UI HEALTH CARE MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS University of Iowa pediatrician Miriam Gardner

Between the phone in mom's purse, backseat Blu-ray players, and smart refrigerators that can stream YouTube, kids have never been more surrounded by screens. But how much is too much screen time? UI pediatrician Miriam Gardner explains when parents should power down that iPad.

HOW MUCH TIME DO KIDS SPEND ON SCREENS?

Children often spend far more time watching screens than parents and doctors realize, says Gardner. In some cases, it's as much as seven or eight hours a day.

AT WHAT AGE CAN SCREENS BE INTRODUCED?

While babies shouldn't be watching any television, by 18 months, toddlers can have short, monitored screen time with a parent.

WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED AMOUNT OF SCREEN TIME FOR KIDS?

At age 2, children can be allotted up to an hour a day of screens, and at age 5, up to two hours. That does not include computer homework for older kids.

WHY IS TOO MUCH SCREEN TIME UNHEALTHY FOR KIDS?

Beyond vision concerns, the biggest issue is a decrease in activity levels. Creative play with family and friends, and individual activities like reading, writing, and art are essential for children.


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Watch Gardner's recommendations on screen time limits for kids.

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