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Reduce Screen Time

Limit Computer Time and Television Usage

For many of us, limiting our computer usage and getting away from all screens can be a challenge. That means television (TV) screens, computer monitors, and even the handheld devices we use for checking e-mail, listening to music, watching TV, and playing video games on the go.

Health experts say screen time at home should be limited to two hours or less a day, unless it’s work- or homework-related.  The time we spend in front of the screen could be better spent being more physically active (increasing our ENERGY OUT), and setting a good example for our families.

When it comes to kids—parents and caregivers should not only set a good example, they need to set rules that limit kids’ computer time, TV watching, and video game playing to reduce how much time is spent in front of a screen. Research by the
Henry J. Kaiser Foundation has shown that setting rules about media use is a challenge for many parents/caregivers.

In 8– to 18–year–olds:

  • 28 percent said their parents set TV–watching rules
  • 30 percent said their parents set rules about video game use
  • 36 percent said their parents set rules about computer use

However, the same study also demonstrated that when parents set ANY media rules, children's media use is almost three hours lower per day.

Other Screen-Time Statistics
(Source: Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, "Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year Olds," January 2010)
Children ages 8–18 spend the following amount of time in front of the screen, daily:
  • Approximately 7.5 hours using entertainment media
  • Approximately 4.5 hours watching TV
  • Approximately 1.5 hours on the computer
  • Over an hour playing video games
These data lie in stark contrast to the 25 minutes per day that children spend reading books.

Today's youth also have the following media in their bedrooms:

  • More than one–third have a computer, and Internet access
  • Half have video game players
  • More than two–thirds have TVs
    • Those with bedroom TVs spend an hour more in front of the screen than those without TVs

Screen Time Reduction Tools

The following tools may help you and your family reduce your screen time and increase your ENERGY OUT. For more information, visit the Tips to Reduce Screen Time page.

Last Updated: July 3, 2012

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