Limiting Screen Time

Experts recommend that children shouldn’t be allowed more than two hours of screen time a day.1 Screen time is time spent watching television, playing video games, or using computers or hand-held devices such as tablets and smart phones.2,3 Too much screen time is linked to obesity, poor performance in school, and behavioral problems.3

Though many parents know they should be limiting screen time, the majority don’t actively restrict what their children watch and for how long.1 If you’re concerned about the effects of screen time on your child, consider these strategies:

  • Encourage active play. Playing with other kids is not just good for physical health—it also helps kids develop social skills.1
  • Don’t let your child eat while watching television and don’t leave the television on during family meals.2
  • Keep televisions and computers in public areas in the home where you can more easily supervise their use.2
  • Take advantage of parental controls and familiarize yourself with ratings for movies and TV shows. These let you decide what you want your child to be watching.4

You can start tracking your family’s screen time with this handy chart from The National Institutes of Health.


  1. Suzanna Smith, Limits on Screen Time, FAR0132, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2013, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fm509
  2. 2. Stephanie C. Toelle and David C. Diehl, Making Good Decisions: Media and the Physical Health of Young Children, A Parent’s Tip Sheet, FCS2294, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2013, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1078
  3. “Reduce Screen Time,” National Institutes of Health, 2013, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/reduce-screen-time/
  4. Stephanie C. Toelle and David C. Diehl, Making Good Decisions: Parenting Strategies to Guide Young Children’s Media Use, FCS2298, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2013, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1089

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