Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Screen Time: Know Your Child’s Limits

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Screen Time: Know Your Child’s Limits

With so many learning and social interactions now conducted virtually instead of in-person, more and more parents are asking themselves — and their child’s pediatrician — this question: How much screen time is too much for my kids?

The answer is more nuanced and complex than you might imagine. According to Naline Lai, MD, FAAP, and Pamela Harrington, MD, pediatricians at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Primary Care, Central Bucks in Doylestown, PA, as the roles screens play in our society continue to evolve — we now use them for everything from face-to-face conversations with loved ones to reading books — the guidelines for screen time are evolving, too.

“The main principle is that screens should not replace parental and human interaction with a child,” says Dr. Lai. She cautions that excessive screen time is associated with a number of health issues, including depression and obesity, and can also have a negative impact on a child’s sleep. Screen time can also adversely affect brain development in young children. “Children need personal interactions with their caregivers to develop cognitive, language, motor, social and emotional skills,” she says.

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