Limiting screen time: What experts say is the appropriate amount for kids

Screen time guidelines

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - In today's world, screens are everywhere, from iPads and computers to TVs and gaming consoles.

This means kids are spending more time now than ever in front of a screen, playing their favorite games and watching videos.

Summer break is just around the corner and many kids will have a lot more time to do that.

So, what's the healthy approach when it comes to screen time?

Studies show children under 8 spend an average of around two hours a day in front of a screen.

Recently, the World Health Organization released a new set of guidelines for how much screen time children under 5 should get and it’s not very much.

According to the WHO, children under 5 should spend no more than one hour a day in front a screen. For those less than a year old, they should not be exposed to screens at all.

So what about the children who are a little older?

Medical experts recommend setting consistent limits on screen time and making sure kids are disconnected from any device at least an hour before bed.

It's also recommended to encourage children to take frequent breaks and incorporate some physical activity. Having plenty of non-screen time is extremely important for development and growth.

Technology can be a great tool for children, especially for learning. It's all about how it’s used.

Experts said while the new screen time guidelines are a step in the right direction, more research needs to be done in the long run.

" We really need better guidelines on what are the good screen time items, and we need to look at the research more intently. With what I've seen so far in the research, everyone now is talking about, we need to know why. Why is it that this or that is not working? And I think we need some more in-depth studies,” said Carol Fletcher, with Public Health CCU.

For parents who are worried about the time their child spends with video games, Fletcher said a good place to start is by just talking to them about it, asking questions and learning more about the game their child enjoys, and maybe evening playing with them.

As it turns out, many games can have a positive influence on a kid’s life.

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