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Entertainment Screen Time Vs. Educational Screen Time

by Dr. Sindhura Kunaparaju
Director of Medical Services
Lucy Daniels Center

Being a parent today is challenging. Navigating your child’s media use in the Era of the Pandemic can be even more challenging as most kids and adults spend a significant amount of time on various screens throughout the day. It is very important to understand and be aware of what amount of that time is being used for entertainment vs. education. According to the CDC, Kids ages 8-18 now spend, on average, 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen for entertainment. With online schooling in place, total daily screen time is about 15 hours a day on average. 

There are many studies recently showing that increased screen time negatively affects eye sight, contributes to obesity, and decreases social interactions including family time. For these reasons and many more, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting the entertainment screen time to 1-2 hours per day with careful consideration of the content. 

I often recommend and encourage parents to use the AAP Family Media Plan tool (http://www.healthychildren.org/MediaUsePlan) which can be customized for each child in the house according to their age. Essentially, it is important to be a digital parent and understand who your children are playing with and where they are playing. There is a time and place for everything and it is important that screens are not a part of meal- and bedtimes. Children can greatly benefit from engaging in healthy conversations about screen time and alternative ways of engagement after online school that will promote health and growth within your family environment.

Lucy Daniels Center Farley-Manning Family Guidance Service (FGS) provides onsite and telehealth therapy for children ages birth – 12 and families at the Lucy Daniels Center. Currently, we are operating remotely due to Covid-19 and instead are taking referrals for telehealth services only.

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