WHO Said What About Screen Time?


The World Health Organisation (WHO) weighs in about screen time for your children.

Growing up digital.

Let’s face it – we’re digital parents, and our kids? They’re growing up digital. Unlike our childhoods, our children will never know the days when there wasn’t cellular data or wi-fi. If they’re bored, just hand them the phone. If they’re throwing a tantrum, show them the tablet. If they’re curious about something, Google it! Gone are the days when we’d pore through 3 volumes of encyclopedias to find our answers.  

But how much screen time is a healthy dose? And how do you balance this out with physical activity and sleep? 

A time and place for everything.

It’s good to schedule your child’s screen time, physical activity, and sleep. This helps to regulate their growth and ensures that they’re developing at the right pace. However, the duration of time spent on each of the 3 aforementioned activities differ according to age. Here are the WHO’s recommendations:

Infants (less than 1 year)

For your newborns, it’s recommended that they’re not exposed to screen time at all. Instead, reading a book together with your little one is strongly encouraged. They should also be physically active for at least 30 minutes within a day. This means 30 minutes of active tummy time to bond with your new bundle of joy, how fun! Most importantly, your newborn should be getting at least 14-17 hours of sleep during the first 3 months. If they’ve grown past 3 months but below a year old, they should be getting at least 12-16 hours of sleep.

Children (1-2 years old)

Ah, they’ve started walking, haven’t they? Take advantage of their new-found wonder and excitement and bring them out to play. The WHO recommends an average of 180 minutes of physical activity – that’s 3 hours – spread throughout the day. In fact, studies have also shown that spending at least 2 hours outdoors helps to mitigate myopia and other eye health maladies. Now, your child has probably been exposed to some form of screen time by the time he/she hits the 2-year mark – be it cartoons or video calls. However, even for 1 year-olds, it is not recommended that they get any screen time at all. Exposure to screen time may hinder their cognitive development. 

Once they’ve grown to the age of 2, screen time should be limited to a strict 1 hour a day. In fact, if you can still restrain your newborn from using any devices at all, the better. Continue reading and playing with them away from the screens instead. Lastly, ensure they get at least 11-14 hours of sleep throughout the day to support their growth. 

Children (3-4 years old)

Time flies, doesn’t it? Don’t you just want them to stop growing already? As they grow, so does their energy. Just like when they were 2, spend at least 180 minutes on physical activity. The only difference is that 60 minutes should be spent on moderate to vigorous activity. This is a great time to teach junior a new sport. Check out the plano shop to find some fun classes such as gymnastics, swimming, and other outdoor adventures. 

Once they’ve expanded enough energy, it’s time for a nap. According to the WHO, children at this age should get between 10-13 hours of good quality sleep throughout the day. So, be sure that junior catches up on his daily dose of Zs. After they wake up, you know they’re going to want to catch up on the latest episode of Peppa Pig or Paw Patrol at this age. However, limit their screen time to 1 hour a day. 

Screens are here to stay, and it’s important that we teach our children how to use them responsibly. If your child is constantly on his/her phone, plano can help limit their screen time and teach the healthy eye care habits. The app reminds your child to take regular eye breaks and as a parent, you can set device-free times too. It’s a great app to keep your child’s screen time in check and ensure that they’re using their devices responsibly.

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