How much screen time is too much for kids?
As evidence mounts that excessive screen time can be harmful to children’s health, one Toronto-based expert wants parents to closely monitor how many hours their kids spend with tablets and phones.
But taking digital devices away from children entirely – as several Silicon Valley parents recently told the New York Times they do – is taking things a step too far, education strategist Dwayne Matthews said Thursday on CTV’s Your Morning.
“I don’t go for zero screen time. I think about managed screen time,” Matthews said.
A recent U.S. study found that one hour a day of screen time can increase the risk of anxiety and depression in children as young as two.
Matthews said parents should think about screen time less in terms of absolute numbers and more in terms of what the time is being used for. If a child can use an app to read books they would not otherwise read, for example, that could be seen as a positive use of technology.
“The screen is a tool, like every other tool. It’s not about the tool; it’s about a plan,” he said.
Matthews said he does mandate periods of screen-free “pioneer time” with his kids. He also uses apps to ensure his kids’ devices shut down automatically if they have been used for two hours straight.