How much screen time is dangerous for kids?

Most children watch far more television than guidelines recommend – but when does it start becoming damaging?

This is the question Australian parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson asks in his new book 21 Days to a Happier Family, extracted in the Daily Mail.
He says that at least 49 per cent of children are “comfortably exceeding” screen time guidelines and “it is having a negative effect on them”.
Guidelines currently recommend no screen time for children under two, and just one hour a day for those aged 2-5. Children aged 5-18 should have no more than two hours a day.
Coulson says the average child watches more than double the recommended amount of television and videos for their age, with many teenagers watching seven times the suggested limits.
“Some parents think family life is easier if we all just relax a little about screens,” he says. “Unfortunately, the data would suggest otherwise.”
He says exceeding the daily guidelines result in academic issues, mental health problems, behavioural issues and health problems.
Fortunately, he says cutting down screen time is easy – it just involves talking to your family about how much TV they are allowed to watch, and then enforcing those rules.
“The research tells a clear story: family rules around screen time are related to lower levels of screen time. You can do it. It is worth the conversation.”

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