Infant screen time has doubled to more than three hours per day

An American study on screen time for kids has found the amount of time those two years of age and under spend on screens has more than doubled since the mid-90s to just over three hours a day. Most of it in front of a television.

Canadian and American pediatricians recommend no screen time for that age group, and a one hour a day maximum those aged 2 to 5.

The study, in JAMA Pediatrics, was based on parent diary data on screen time of children under age 2 from 1997 to 2014.

“There is growing concern over the amount of time that children, particularly very young children, spend watching shows and in front of screens. Our findings were surprising as it feels like mobile devices are omnipresent, but televisions are still the most common way for young children to consume media.”

– Weiwei Chen, assistant professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work

The long-term consequences of excessive screen time for babies and toddlers’ developing brains remains unknown.

Tips for reducing screen time

  • Keep track of time: Monitor how much time your child spends in front of a screen and set limits if it’s something you are concerned about
  • Make screen time interactive: Download educational games, apps or programs as opposed to or in addition to simply putting on a movie or TV show
  • Remember ‘Old-fashioned’ toys and games: Swap out the iPad or television for Legos or other toys without a screen
  • Don’t replace the face: Don’t forget to spend time interacting face-to-face with developing children