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Children and TV: Limiting your child's screen time
Children and TV often go hand in hand. Understand the effects of too much screen time — and how to enforce reasonable limits.By Mayo Clinic staff
Are you concerned about how much time your child spends watching TV or playing video games? Although some screen time can be educational, it's easy to go overboard. Consider this guide to children and TV, including what you can do to keep your child's screen time in check.
The effects of too much screen time
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting a child's use of TV, movies, video and computer games to no more than one or two hours a day. Too much screen time has been linked to:
- Obesity. Children who watch more than two hours of TV a day are more likely to be overweight.
- Irregular sleep. The more TV children watch, the more likely they are to resist going to bed and to have trouble falling asleep.
- Behavioral problems. Elementary students who spend more than two hours a day watching TV or using a computer are more likely to have emotional, social and attention problems. Exposure to video games also increases the risk of attention problems in children. Children who watch excessive amounts of TV are more likely to bully than children who don't.
- Impaired academic performance. Elementary students who have TVs in their bedrooms tend to perform worse on tests than those who don't.
- Violence. Too much exposure to violence on TV and in movies, music videos, and video and computer games can desensitize children to violence. As a result, children may learn to accept violent behavior as a normal part of life and a way to solve problems.
- Less time for play. Excessive screen time leaves less time for active, creative play.
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