The Canadian Pediatric Society has released recommendations regarding how much screen time Canadian children should have at various ages. Screen time includes playing video games, watching television, and using electronic devices such as cell phones and tablets. Read on to learn more about screen time by age in Canada and what Canadian Pediatric Society recommends.
What Are Screen Time Activities?
Screen time can refer to many activities, including watching television, playing video games, and browsing social media. The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends that children under two years old should not have screen time.
Children between 2-5 years old should have one hour of screen time per day with an hour’s break. Children between 6-8 years old should have no more than two hours of screen time per day with two hours in between.
Dos and Don’ts of Screen Time
The Canadian Pediatrics Society offers these dos and don’ts of screen time:
- All children are different, so parents should limit screen time depending on the child’s age.
- For children under two, no screen time is recommended.
- Parents should try to balance screen time with other activities like reading books or playing outside.
- If a child spends more than two hours in front of a screen, it could hurt their eyesight and may lead to higher levels of anxiety.
Infants should be carried or held when watching TV, playing with a tablet, or using a mobile device. There are no screen time recommendations for this age group. Infants should not watch TV, use a tablet, or play with mobile devices when in bed.
The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends that parents limit screen time for children under two to an hour daily. This includes TV and videos, as well as computers and tablets. These children spend most of their awake time with parents or in child care, so they get lots of opportunities to learn and play without screens.
- Limit screen time to less than one hour per day of high-quality programs.
- Avoid violent, scary, or overly stimulating content.
- Parents should co-view and participate with their children.
- Teach a child how to recognize and handle digital risks such as cyberbullying, excessive use of social media, or inappropriate messages.
School-Aged Children (7-11)
School-aged children should be limited to less than two hours of screen time per day unless they complete school assignments. They should also avoid games and videos that are violent or sexualized in nature.
- Limit screen time to less than two hours daily, and avoid using screens before bed.
- Cell phones, tablets, or other digital devices are not replacements for sleep.
- If you are concerned about your child’s excessive screen use, consult with their family doctor.
Young Adults (19-24)
Young adults should watch no more than two hours of television each day and spend a maximum of one hour on the computer in any 24 hours. This age group should not use their device to play games or watch videos for more than one hour each day.
The screen time recommendations for young adults differ from those for children, as research suggests that this age group has a different balance between work, school, and leisure activities.
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