In the US, children aged 8 to 12 spend an average of 4 to 6 hours a day watching TV, and teenagers spend up to 9 hours a day. Adults in the United States spend even more time in front of screens, averaging 10.5 hours a day.
For children, experts have age-based recommendations to ensure screen time does not affect child development. These recommendations focus on encouraging play, reading and interaction between parents and children, said Angela Mattke, a paediatrician at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center. There are no hard and fast guidelines on how much screen time you should have as an adult. The Mayo Clinic recommends focusing on exposing your children to quality programs and apps like PBS Kids and Sesame Workshop, “things that affect common sense,” Mattke said.
Research shows that there are many ways that excess screen time can damage your physical and mental health. It is difficult for older children and adults to give an exact figure of how much screen time is too much. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommends no more than an hour on weekdays and no more than three hours on weekends. For those over 5, there is no consistent approach to how much screen time they should get, Mattke says. As a general rule of thumb, screen time should not affect learning, relationships with peers and the family, physical activity, sleep or mental health.