How much time should kids really be spending on screens?

Teaching children to make healthy choices is one of the most critical jobs a parent has—and it can be one of the most difficult. With increasing access to mobile devices and tablets, parents today are facing an increasingly important issue, and decision: When it comes to screen time, how much is too much?

three toddlers on a mat on the floor of a playroom looking at a tablet

As children continue to be exposed to screens at increasingly younger ages, questions around how to best support children’s health and development in our digital world are becoming more common, and understanding the issues is more crucial than ever.

“Screens are no longer simple devices, but often mobile computers. Parents now have to manage not just the quantity of time, but the content,” says Bert Mandelbaum, chair of Pediatrics at Penn Medicine Princeton Health. As screens become a bigger party of our daily lives, managing a child’s time spent on these devices requires comprehensive strategies. 

In their newly released guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep for children under 5 years of age, the United Nations health agency has included specific recommendations for children’s screen time.

The new guidelines state that children under 2 years old should have no screen time, and children aged 2 to 5 should have no more than one hour a day of sedentary screen time—and even less is better.

Read more at Penn Medicine News.