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Are My Kids Watching Too Much TV?

Television and other media use (such as playing video games and spending non-school-related time on computers, tablets, and smartphones) can be a source of learning and entertainment. But too much screen time can take away from other activities, such as sleeping, exercising, playing with friends, and doing homework.

Studies have shown that kids who watch too much TV are more likely to be overweight — and, depending on the content of what they see, more aggressive. Excess TV viewing also has been linked to poor grades, sleep problems, and behavior problems.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends these guidelines for screen time:

  • Babies and toddlers up to 18 months old: No screen time, with the exception of video-chatting with family and friends.
  • Toddlers 18 months to 24 months: Some screen time with a parent or caregiver. 
  • Preschoolers: No more than 1 hour a day of educational programming, together with a parent or other caregiver who can help them understand what they're seeing.
  • Kids and teens 5 to 18 years: Parents should place consistent limits on screen time, which includes TV, social media, and video games. Media should not take the place of getting enough sleep and being physically active.

Reviewed by: KidsHealth Medical Experts
Date Reviewed: 00-00-0000

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