Most American children spend about 3 hours a day watching TV. Added together, all types of screen time can total 5 to 7 hours a day and that doesn’t include time spent using devices for school or in school.

With the increased availability of screen for children of all ages, Wonders has stuck to our screen policy that limits screen time for all the children in our program.  It may seem outdated as screen time has simply become time to many of our children. There are a plethora of screens that children can see and use but increased screen time doesn’t necessarily translate to better development.

Studies have shown that excessive media use can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity.

By limiting screen time and offering educational media and non-electronic formats such as books, newspapers and board games and watching television with their children, parents can help guide their children’s media experience. Putting questionable content into context and teaching kids about advertising contributes to their media literacy. (source)

The American Academy of Pediatrics routinely updates all of its recommendations to ensure that they reflect the most current data. Current recommendations are to avoid all screens for children under 2, and to allow a maximum of two hours per day of high-quality material for older children.

When watching TV or playing video games, kids are likely to be sedentary rather than playing with peers, friends or parents.

  • Watching TV and playing on devices get in the way of children exploring, playing and interacting with grown-ups and their peers — all of which encourage learning and healthy physical and social development.
  • As children get older, too much screen time can interfere with being physically active, reading, doing homework, playing with friends and spending time with family.
  • Children who consistently spend too much time watching TV and using devices are more likely to be obese or overweight.

Wonders understands the concerns that parents may have in wanting to expose their children to more technology in order to have a more versed child in this ever evolving technology fueled world.  BUT “There are some preliminary studies — and I emphasize preliminary — that babies as young as six months can learn from prosocial media,” said Dr. Victor Strasburger, a distinguished professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and a co-author of the original policy statement, “but they learn 20 times better from parents. I think very judicious use of technology for under-2s may be okay, but personally I don’t see the hurry.”

Even high-quality educational electronic content shouldn’t crowd out the other parts of childhood. “Unstructured, unplugged playtime is very important for all children and especially very young children,” said Dr. Benard Dreyer, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a professor of pediatrics at N.Y.U. “This does not negate the previous recommendations,” he told me. “We still don’t think kids under 2 should be watching TV; we still don’t think older kids should be spending more than two hours a day watching TV.”

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