Key Takeaway Points
  • Children average 2 hours and 15 minutes of screen time each day with 45 minutes spent on handheld devices. We recommend they have 0 screen time, but if they do, it should be no more than 1 hour in total each day.
  • Children need unstructured play and simple toys to learn. A screen becomes a sedative when it is used to “keep them busy.”
  • A study that compared screen time play to outdoor play found that children who engaged in outdoor play were better equipped to express their feelings and follow directions than those who engaged in screen time play.


Aiken, M. (2016). The cyber effect:  A pioneering cyberpsychologist explains how human behavior changes online. (pp. 93-118). New York:  Spiegel & Grau.

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2016). American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Recommendations for Children’s Media Use. Retrieved from

Chaput, J., Gray, C. E., Poitras, V. J., Carson, V., Gruber, R., Birken, C. S., & … Tremblay, M. S. (2017). Systematic review of the relationships between sleep duration and health indicators in the early years (0-4 years). BMC Public Health, 17(Suppl 5), 855. doi:10.1186/s12889-017-4850-2

Hale, L., & Guan, S. (2015). Screen time and sleep among school-aged children and adolescents:  A systematic literature review. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 21, p.50-58. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2014.07.007

Hinkley, T., Brown, H., Carson, V., & Teychenne, M. (2018). Cross sectional associations of screen time and outdoor play with social skills in preschool children. Plos One, 13(4), e0193700. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0193700

Kamenetz, A. (2018). 5 things to know about screen time right now. NPR Ed How Learning Happens. Retrieved from

Santhanam, L. (2016) How much time do parents spend on their screens? PBS News Hour. Retrieved from

University of Oxford (2017). Children’s screen-time guidelines too restrictive, according to new research. Retrieved from’s-screen-time-guidelines-too-restrictive-according-new-research