How to Limit Screen Time: Health Tips for Parents

How to Limit Screen Time: Health Tips for Parents

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MSLIS
Health Science Writing | Clinical Medical Searching

Posted December 30, 2015


What is screen time?

Screen time is the amount of time you spend watching TV, or DVDs, playing video games (console systems or handheld games), and using a smart phone, tablet, or computer, according to KidsHealth, an online resource of The Nemours Foundation Center for Children’s Health Media.

Screen Time Health Tips for Parents

Many authoritative online information resources offer screen time health tips that parents may consider for their families. You can find screen time health tips at the following websites:

  • The Nemours Foundation KidsHealth website
  • The White House Let’s Move educational initiative website
  • The Mayo Clinic Healthy Lifestyle Children’s Health website
  • The U.S. National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus website and online Magazine

Links to select information resources, some of which include lists of health tips, appear at the end of this blog.

Here are just four of many screen time health tips for parents. These tips have been excerpted and edited for this posting:

From KidsHealth: Stock the room in which you have your TV with other non-screen entertainment, such as board games, books, kids’ magazines, puzzles, and toys, to encourage kids to want to do something other than watch TV.

From Let’sMove: Create a house rule that limits screen time to one to two hours every day, unless it is related to work or homework, and enforce the rule, starting with yourself as a role model.

From Mayo Clinic: Talk to your child’s caregivers. Encourage other adults in your child’s life to limit your child’s screen time.

From MedlinePlus. The Magazine. Eat meals together as a family. Do not eat in front of a screen.

In general, always think in terms of talking first. For example, teach your children to question and learn from what they see on TV and the Internet. Direct fact-to-face conversations with your children help them to know that you love them, because you care enough to take the time to talk with them and to find out what they think.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Information Resources

Selected and Annotated by Evelyn Cunico, MA, MSLIS

American Academy of Pediatrics. Growing Up Digital: Media Research Symposium. May 2-3, 2015. Rosemont, Illinois.
Summary Note: Article reports on event proceedings. Includes recommendations for parents on ways to limit media use, while encouraging time to talk with children.
(Accessed 27 December 2015)

Falbe, J, Davison, KK, Franckle, RL, Ganter, C, Gortmaker, SL, Smith, L, Land, T, Taveras, EM (2015). Sleep Duration, Restfulness, and Screens in the Sleep Environment . Pediatrics. 2015 February; 135(2).
Summary Note: Article on Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration Study of fourth-graders and seventh-graders, 2012 to 2013. Findings associated with inadequate sleep caution against unrestricted screen access in children’s bedrooms.
(Abstract accessed 29 December 2015)

Let’s Move dot Gov. Reduce Screen Time and Get Active .
Summary Note: National initiative to reduce obesity among children includes family house rules for limiting time spent with electronic media, while increasing time participating in physical activities.
(Accessed 28 December 2015)

Mayo Clinic Staff. Healthy Lifestyle. Children’s Health. Children and TV: Limiting Your Child’s Screen Time .
Summary Note: Mayo Clinic guide that describes the negative health effects of too much screen time, and suggests ways to enforce reasonable limits.
(Accessed 26 December 2015)

Nemours Foundation. KidsHealth from Nemours.
Summary Note: About page for KidsHealth .
(Accessed 29 December 2015)

Nemours Foundation. Kids Health. Be a Fit Kid .
Summary Note: Web pages for kid audiences. Includes five rules that children may follow to stay healthy, in areas such as, food menu variety, physical activity, and screen time limitations.
(Accessed 26 December 2015)

Nemours Foundation. Kids Health. Healthy Habits for TV, Video Games, and the Internet .
Summary Note: Discusses ways that parents can teach their children to question and learn from what they see on TV and other electronic media.
(Accessed 26 December 2015)

National Institutes of Health. NIH MedlinePlus. The Magazine. Feature: Planning for a Healthy School Year. Physical Activity. Reduce Inactive Screen Time . Fall 2015 issue: Volume 10, Number 3, p. 10-11.
Summary Note: Feature article focuses on importance of physical activity and need to reduce screen time to maintain healthy body and mind.
(Accessed 30 December 2015)

Swing, EL, Gentile, DA, Anderson, CA, Walsh, DA (2010). Television and Video Game Exposure and the Development of Attention Problems . Pediatrics. 2010 August; 126(2):214-221.
Summary Note: Using assessments reported by parent, child, and teachers, authors find video games and television to be associated with greater subsequent attention problems in middle school children.
(Abstract accessed 28 December 2015)