Screen Time - Should Your Child Watch Less?

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Many families enjoy watching a favorite television show or movie together, but it is easy for children to spend too much time alone with a TV, computer, or video game. The more TV kids watch, the more likely they are to eat unhealthy foods. Children see and are influenced by thousands of ads each year, and many are for sugary cereals, snacks, and soda. Too much TV or computer time also hinders reading, schoolwork, and talking with friends and family members.

Cutting back on screen time is very difficult to do, and while you may want to cut back, this may not be a good time for you. If you cannot start now, perhaps you can think about doing it later. Cutting back on screen time does not mean watching nothing at all, but it does mean being careful about what and how much your child watches.

You do not have to decide now. When you are ready to try, your doctor and others can give you information and support to help.

How can you begin to think about less screen time?

  • If this is not the right time to change what your child watches, think about when you might be able to try.
  • Ask yourself what might be different for your child and other family members if you cut back on screen time. What other things could your family do with that time?
  • Ask yourself if anything worries you about making these changes.
  • Remember that you can control how fast you make any changes. Making small, gradual changes to what and how much you watch on TV and other screens will help you and your child maintain the changes. The decision to change and how you do it are up to you. You can find a way that works for your family.
  • Pay attention to rating systems for movies. Know what your children are watching in cars and at their friends' homes.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.