Please could we have your thoughts on screen time and whether it's possible to limit it to very little?

(97 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 08-Oct-12 20:02:12

We're being asked to comment by radio 5 live on a review of the evidence of the harms involved in children watching TV that's being published tomorrow in Archives of Disease in Childhood, part of the BMJ stable.

The author is suggesting there should be limits - and that under the age of 3 children should have no screen time at all (that's ipads and other computers as well as TVs). Then he says it can be phased in to no more than two hours over the age of 16.

I have to say though aware that too much screen time is undesirable, I'm surprised there aren't positives in limited screen time. Also it's bleedin' hard to control, given how much children love this stuff.

Would be very interested to know your thoughts.

CotherMuckingFunt Mon 08-Oct-12 20:06:01

Surely it depends on what they're watching? I'm lucky in that my kids (6 and 4) self-limit their screen time but I think what they do watch is good for them either educationally or just by giving them some down time after very long school days (8:30-4:40).

And tv time is essential for me. It helps me to not kill them.

SheelaNeGig Mon 08-Oct-12 20:07:08

Its 2012. Life revolves around screens and would quickly grind to a halt if people (over 16) were only 'allowed' 2 hours of screen time a day.
If it is that dangerous maybe we need to return to slates?

I have limited laptop time easily. Control panel them parental controls limit to between 7pm and 8pm. Laptop will not let them log on outside of those times.
No game consols apart from the wii which is in the front room so easily limited again.
Only tv downstairs so can keep an eye. I would say they get 2-2.5 hours a day screen time in the week. I don't think its hard to do.

Have to say apart from my job i have the same sort of amount of time a day, though mainly cos i am too busy to watch tv!

honoraglossop Mon 08-Oct-12 20:16:07

I've never understood how you enforce this. If you're 8 year old is watching horrible histories are you meant to take your toddler out of the room? Are you not allowed to sit together and watch tv or iplayer or look up stuff on the internet? Obviously it should be age
appropriate but are we the only family that have "screen time" together? and on a rainy day that may be loads more than 2 hours!

honoraglossop Mon 08-Oct-12 20:17:11

Ooops wrong "your" sorry

SheelaNeGig Mon 08-Oct-12 20:22:05

And what honora said. How do you limit different amounts for different ages in a small house?

happyoverhere Mon 08-Oct-12 20:24:04

Yes its possible to limit it, you just have to parent your children rather than use the screen as a free childminder!

champagnesupernova Mon 08-Oct-12 20:26:25

Too much screen time is probably not good for them I agree, obesity etc but even 20 odd years ago we were being told Why Don't You Switch Off the Television and Go And Do Something Less Boring Instead?!? grin

Like all of these things it's about balance.
I have 2 DC (but they are still little one in reception one nearly 2 so I don't know what it will be like when they want to stay up all night to play Call of Duty in x years time) grin

The positives thus far though:

My DS's vocabulary was definitely improved by watching TV - all the repetition stuff on CBeebies etc is good imho and I think that my DS2's fine motor skills have been helped by the iPod/iphone - he is brilliant at lego (not duple) even though he's not 2 yet.

HotHotNot Mon 08-Oct-12 20:26:34

So what are they (and mum) supposed to do for down time? In the 1970s my mum locked me in the kitchen to watch the washing machine go round. Then she bought a tv and we were both happier grin .

Or are we meant to be all Scandanavian style and have "someone" <sigh> do Worthy Outdoor Things until they are too tired to demand any entertainment?

I do think it would be useful to have an idea of what is too much, though. If only to threaten them with if they are pushing my limits.

Tweasels Mon 08-Oct-12 20:32:04

It would be impossible to implement. I'd rather My older DS was in the family living room watching CBBC than holed up in his room just to make sure younger DD doesn't catch a glimpse. He also spends loads of time on the PC doing things like Mathletics which is promoted by his school. Often younger DD likes to watch him. I think it's great. I have no problem with it.

However, I'd love to be limited to 2 hours screen time per day. Not the 8 hours my job demands!

Taffeta Mon 08-Oct-12 20:36:28

I am gradually changing my view on screen time as I become a more confident parent in my choices for them, and as they grow.

In my day ( ! ) age 8 I'd be away on my bike for the whole day. Of course this is unheard of now, my DS would absolutely LOVE this - the feeling of freedom above all else sad

So, instead, I ferry mine ( 8 and 6 ) around to endless activities, mainly sport, so by the time they are home and any schoolwork is done they are so exhausted they can have some screen time as they are fit for nothing else.

Weekends are a similar activityfest of Rainbows, riding and football, with the odd party/family gathering/friend gathering thrown in, so there are rarely large chunks of time for the screen. We do like a family Saturday night Strictly/Merlin night right now, though smile

NormaStanleyFletcher Mon 08-Oct-12 20:37:53

Mine watch far too much

That is all

All of my children have been allowed to have as much screen time as they wish for an early age - indeed I attribute my eldest daughter's B in Spanish GCSE to hours of watching Dora The Explorer. True story.

They choose to watch 'interesting' programmes mainly, like Mythbusters and How It's Made - it's me who watches the truly rubbish tv they TALK all the way through my soaps and the X Factor sad

Yes, they do watch Adventure Time and The Regular Show but it used to be I-Carly so I'm grateful for the upgrade. I don't believe it does then any harm at all - they don't watch post-watershed programmes - as they switch off the telly when they want to go and read or draw or make a model or whatever. They're all doing very well at school, have better than 20/20 vision, are sociable unlike me

I just fail to see what the problem is.

Jojoba1986 Mon 08-Oct-12 20:46:58

As a self-diagnosed telly-addict I made the decision to move our TV out of the living room & into our cosy loft conversion so I wouldn't be teaching my DS bad habits. He's only one so I may have to eat my words in years to come but so far our system of recording things of interest & watching them at appropriate times (i.e. when DS is asleep!) seems to be working well! I'm not planning on banning screens all together but any screen time will be a family activity reserved for suitable times!

PermanentlyOnEdge Mon 08-Oct-12 20:52:06

I have always been OTT on limiting screen time, having read the 'nothing under three' advice before my two were born. DS (5) has never watched live TV except for the Xmas screening of the Gruffalo. He has a range of DVDs which tend to be for younger kids, eg pingu, and knows how to operate the iplayer where he chooses cloudbabies, chuggington, and similar. Also Octonauts! And a few longer films for Sundays. He is allowed 30-60 mins screentime a day, but that must include iPad/iPhone time too. DD (3-just) didn't really have any until she dropped her nap, now has same as DS ( how could we do it differently, the screaming!!)
I think many other parents think I'm barmy, restricting it so much, though I in turn have been horrified by some of their choices (supersize v superskinny for a five yr DD anyone?), but I have a DS who could read confidently by 3.8 and a 3.0 DD picking out words. I also hate how addictive screentime seems to be, and the wound up state too much seems to get them into. iPad games particularly leave DS crying and angry when he can't do new levels. I would much rather limit it, than take chances that it isn't doing them any good.

So yes, it's possible to limit it, especially if you start as you mean to go on. It's nigh on impossible to remove it once they know what it is. But it's hard on two fronts. Both my DCs ask to watch/play if at home and I'm busy, and don't always take the answer 'no' all that well! And it's so tempting for me if I feel exhausted/ fed up etc to just say yes to get a break. I guess if its what you believe in it helps you stick to your guns.

That said, I haven't outright banned it. This is the age we live in. They need to have the tools/media experience to get on and fit in with their peers, and they need to be screen savvy as adults. I hope to encourage them to make active choices in their own best interests as they get older and can handle sensible decision making.

missorinoco Mon 08-Oct-12 20:53:47

Two hours per day presumably (rather than per week).

I note they say phased, so my four year old doesn't get as much time as a sixteen year old, which sounds farcical, but even so I think this sounds like a joke, and the whim of the week.

A few reasons - most movies are ninety minutes long. My five year old gets a movie most weekends, I'm a harsh parent, but would hardly turn the DVD off cos he'd used up his quota.

Some programmes are educational. Alphablocks is a hit in my house, before the age of three.

As mentioned, what do I do with the toddler when the older two are watching television.

I don't have older children, so am sure someone else will correct me, but isn't a lot of schoolwork done on the computer these days {cringe at how old this makes me sound}

And lastly, even if they suggest this, I suspect many modern parents will not abide to it. I'm not an amazing parent, but I'm by no means terrible, and the television was a blessing when my children dropped their naps and needed some time to zone out. (No, they did not want to bond with Mummy and a book if that is what is suggested.) It was also a lifesaver for when the second and thrid children were born. My middle child was totally disinterested in television, and trying to settle the baby/feed the baby/ stop the baby screaming was so difficult when she didn't want to watch anything, but just wanted my attention. With my older child I relaxed the rules, then reclaimed them when we were into a routine.

No no no no no.

Plus also as said, so not lastly before then, it gets me five minutes peace, and stops me losing it and shrieking like a harpy. I suspect not even a gobstopper would otherwise buy me this.

Lexilicious Mon 08-Oct-12 20:54:10

I have one child who is now just over 3. He had no screen time whatsoever until about 18 months old. Until 2 years old he had a maximum of ten minutes per day, and not within an hour of bedtime, and always with us beside him commenting and talking about what Thomas/Bob/Pingu was doing.

Since 2 we have been a lot more lenient, but have stuck to a fairly limited palette of the children's shows (the ones with real words, for a start, I am having no fucking ninkynonks in this house) and still avoiding screens just before bed. Not having an actual TV helps - we watch everything on iplayer or other demand tv so it is easy to stick to one episode. He had a few goes on the iPad when I first got it, but as I only had the free versions of the games, we exhausted that pretty quickly. We watch daft animal videos on youtube together, and look up steam engines and demolitions. I gather that in the mornings DH sometimes let's him have a ten minute episode of Bob etc if there is enough time after breakfast and before leaving the house. I wouldn't, but that's more because there wouldn't be enough time because I am chaotic in the mornings. grin. We also took him to the cinema for the first time at about 2.5y. He was gripped. (Puss In Boots)

After wash and teeth this evening, DS had one story read to him, and then was sitting up in bed 'reading' Thomas and Bob and Happy Families books to himself for the next half hour. I go in and suggest it's sleepy time now, and he happily put his light out himself and settled down to sleep. Given the choice, he will always go for books over screens at the moment. In the long term though, I imagine that screens will be a far more dominant medium than for my generation for a lot of things - education, work, entertainment - and so I won't restrict them to some arbitrary number of hours. I do think that being involved together in consuming media is the key thing, and that you go into that consuming intentionally (look out for a drama/nature/entertainment/culture/daft slapstick show and watch it) rather than passively (tv switched on for background noise as soon as you get home, which always strikes me as a bit Fahrenheit 451...).

Lexilicious Mon 08-Oct-12 20:55:14

Ps I know the above is all in the luxurious position of having one child. You are welcome to laugh at me if/when child 2 is a tv-gazer.

TheMightyMojoceratops Mon 08-Oct-12 21:02:41

Yes, too much is bad, but too much of anything is bad. Books were once supposed to be bad for you too.

“She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.”
&#8213; Louisa May Alcott, Work: A Story of Experience

Screen time is the new books, provided you're not using it as a babysitter.

pourmeanotherglass Mon 08-Oct-12 21:07:05

2 hours sounds realistic and achievable (if per day) - possibly a little on the high side - especially if some averaging over the week is allowed - mine(ages 8 and 10) prob have more than 2 hours on a Saturday - they play on the computer in the morning while i have a lie-in and DH is at work, we go out in the afternoon, then often watch strictly/doctor who/total wipeout together. We try to have a screen free day on Sunday. Some days during the week they have less screen time as they have activities, and sometimes they just decide to play/draw instead of watching telly after school.

AViewfromtheFridge Mon 08-Oct-12 21:08:44

Could someone work out how to limit my screen time, please?

Bluestocking Mon 08-Oct-12 21:18:49

We don't have a television. [smug bohemian MC emoticon]. But we do have computers and a portable DVD player, and DS (8) has a PS Vita [overindulgent mother of PFB only child emoticon].
At the weekend, DS watches films and episodes of kids' programmes on iPlayer or the DVD player. He plays computer games too. I would say his screen time averages out at 90 mins per day max over the week. Thinking about it, I think that's probably still too much and I need to get a bit tougher on the computer games.

GloriaTechnicolour Mon 08-Oct-12 21:36:27

My two dcs didn't look at a screen before they were 2, and after that only very minimally. We live abroad, so no cbeebies (and local tv is crap), so we now have a library of DVDs, mostly old stuff from my childhood. We've had phases where they were just rushing in the door and turning the telly on and then basically sitting there for most of the evening, so for the past six months or so we've said no screen time on weekdays, which they accepted very quickly.

They're 7 and 3. After school/nursery we go to the park if the weather's nice, otherwise we come home and I rummage nonchalantly around in their cupboards a bit until they spot something I've got that they want to play with. Generally quite happy playing with Lego, cars, train tracks etc., or fighting and tormenting each other (but that's another story).

They sometimes get our phones to play with at the weekend, and we've been on holiday with friends who've got an iPad (and who basically just give it to them for the week) which is like crack to them.

They actually prefer it if I can sit down and do something with them - we have crafty phases where we make enormous constructions out of cardboard boxes, and they love all that.

I think there are interesting things for them to watch, but generally I hate the way screens makes them slack-jawed and dull-eyed.

handbagCrab Mon 08-Oct-12 21:44:06

I teach ICT and DH is a software architect, if you limit dc to two hours a day, how are we supposed to earn a living? smile

Anyway, as a child of the 80s I most probably grew up having twoish hours of tv/video/cinema/spectrum/Amiga a day easily. I also read books, played out and rode my bike across the fields.

Technology changes how we interact with the world. I don't think you can make children not interact with the world using technology. It would be nice to know the reasoning behind this idea really.

a 16 year old limited to 2 hours a day is going to struggle, they probably do more than that in school if they do any subject that involves coursework never mind being on their phone, watching tv, maybe even playing a computer game (the horror!) in their spare time.

Perhaps instead of a blanket 'ban' that is impossible to enforce we need to look at what dc are using technology for, is it appropriate, is it safe, is it non addictive, does it reinforce other things dc need to know etc.

Homebird8 Mon 08-Oct-12 21:48:44

We tried screen free days on three days a week (and limited on other days by activities like school, swimming, clubs etc.). The only thing was that it was me too and I found it really hard after a 7pm bedtime for the DCs not to want to collapse with crappy telly myself!

laptopcomputer Mon 08-Oct-12 22:03:53

My DS had almost no tv before the age of 3 (only if it was on at someone elses house) and probably about 4 hours a week now (age 7). I let him have the odd hour on the laptop here and there, perhaps twice a week. No DS. No Playstation, but we do have a Wii he uses perhaps once a week. And he was talking at 18 months, sentences before he was 2 and reading at 4. His teachers consistently comment on what a wide vocabulary and good general knowledge he has.
IMHO very little is learnt from TV, it simply shuts your brain down.

defineme Mon 08-Oct-12 22:04:42

We have 3 kids.We have one tv and one laptop in the house. No smartphones/ipads/ds/whatever. The tv is smallish (19 inch?) and is not in a room that is a thoroughfare.
I've never explicitly limited screen time, but they've always gravitated towards the rooms with their toys in and the garden. They probably watch 20 minutes a day maximum, but often none, family viewing of the odd thing is encouraged by me, but they wander off-we have watched one film as a family to the end in 10 years(close encounters!)!
I love tv, but I watch it to relax when they're in bed. I should limit myself.

UniS Mon 08-Oct-12 22:14:19

It's possible to do, but it needs a whole family approach in my view.

Is the author talking about 2 hours a week or a day for 16 yr olds?

FWIW DS is 6, he does about 15-30 mins of PC time a day at home. We do not have a TV.. He chooses not to watch DVDs at school wet play.

fuzzpig Mon 08-Oct-12 22:16:14

Mine watch too much and I'm desperate to change it. We used to be pretty good - then DH got injured, and I got sick too. There are many times we are physically incapable of doing anything else.

I do think it has affected them negatively. Less attention span etc. I hate this.

fuzzpig Mon 08-Oct-12 22:17:18

They don't have any screens in their room though, I would not allow that until they are old enough to work and pay for it themselves!

Zwitterion Mon 08-Oct-12 22:23:46

I'm not sure I'd want to limit it to be honest. My 2.8 year old is quite computer literate (can operate a mouse, look at photos on iPhone etc). She enjoys short films, Cbeebies etc. It's a huge part of life, is educational, broadens her understanding of the world and as others have said saves my sanity at times. If it proves to be the root of all evil I'm doomed, frankly.

We do lots of other activities but the TV is on for least a couple of hours each day.

5madthings Mon 08-Oct-12 22:25:35

When ds1 was little we didnt have tv for a while but then i had ds2 and i needed it for all the ebenings sat bfeeding!

Can i ask this no tv before age 2/3 does this apply to babies so no having the tv on when bfeeding? That kept me sane! And i will put the tv on to catch up on news stories etc.
We do.limit it but it is hard with an age range of 13yrs down to 21mths. The 13, 10 and 7yr old all get homework that is online on a vle for the primary age ones or mathletics etc and ds1 at high school has to.do stuff online and submitt it online etc.

No tv in the mornings here but i do let them.veg out a bit after school. They play at the park after school.or have clubs so its often 5pm when we get in and then they will watch tv whilst i cook dinner etc. or they may go on the xbox/wii/ps2. I.limit games consoles.more as the boys can get a bit hyper if they are on them for too long so 40-60mins max. Ds1 self regulates and rarely uses them tbh.

During the weel they prob dont get much more than an hour a day screen time actually. But at wkends they get more ie a film, some games console time eetc. We have one tv in sitting rm and one upstairs but the uostairs one is limited channels wise and mainly used for dvds. I am strict abouy what i let them watch ie content wise but the elder two love myth busters etc. Ds3 and ds4 love the lego ptogrammes ie the lego hero or lego starwars cartoons. Dd 21mths is a big ben and holly fan!

Its everything in moderation tbh, thete are def phases when they watch more tv or they get a new game for the xbox so play a lot and then othertimes they dont play on them or watch tv at all.

I do think it us part of life and they use them.in svhool etc, hell ds4's pre-school had ipad type things they used sometimes!

I wont be getting my knickers in a twist about the recomendations and certainly once you have more than one child its much harder to stop little ones watching it. i cant banish my toddler becaysevthe boys want to play mario kart etc!

horsebiscuit Mon 08-Oct-12 22:38:51

Let's be completely honest, there is often a choice in this household. I can have DD1, hysterically crying from tiredness after school, weeping under my feet as I desperately try to cook dinner while bf a baby. Or one hour tucked up on the sofa, sometimes with me chatting about mountain gorillas, watching Andy's Wild Adventures and My Story etc
I know which is better for both of our mental health and general happiness. Plus, kids need variety. Lots of different activities, of which TV is one.
I would worry more about homes where the telly is on as background constantly. Plus DD1 reports watching three different TV programmes at school today (Mike the Knight etc- not educational stuff) - what's that about confused. BTW, are adults to be restricted to two hours too? If so my MN habit means I'm waaaay over.

We don't have TV, so DS doesn't see any. If I put a DVD on my laptop for him, he tends to use it as background to his games, and doesn't actually watch it.

kuros Mon 08-Oct-12 22:41:38

I have 2 primary age children. We have one TV and a laptop; nothing else. Screen time has never really happened for us. They are busy doing the old fashioned things kids did in the pre-screen era. Screen activities take up very little time, since school went back in September maybe 7 hours/week, less in the holidays.

DC1 has no real interest in the TV shows/iPads/games consoles some of her friends are into but I think DC2 would quickly become an addict if allowed. They have never had the option of unlimited TV etc., eg. they watch just the one DVD in a session. When it´s over it´s over.

Both kids are doing very well academically and socially. I´m not worried about this choice having any kind of negative effect.

But I see a lot of negatives in unlimited screen use. People in general, not just kids, seem to withdraw from the world into their screens. Whereas being absorbed in a book may ultimately enrich your experience of the world I have the impression that being engrossed in most screen-based technologies brings no medium or long term benefit. I don´t believe for a moment that all the kids I can see constantly playing with their iPad, mobile, looking on YouTube etc for hours at a time are doing anything remotely educational. It seems more of a tool to avoid interacting with others, something to fiddle or fidget with.

If you think it´s important to limit screen time you can do it. But you have to be quite determined and have the time and energy for alternatives when the kids are young and don´t entertain themselves so easily.

WorraLiberty Mon 08-Oct-12 22:58:25

I think it does depend on their age and what they're watching.

The History Channel, The Geography Channel and so many others are so educational for them...the modern day equivalent of a child sitting with its nose stuck in an encylopedia.

However, I tend to agree with no or very little screen time for the under 3's.

The reason for that is, I'm a Governor at my local Primary school and the Nursery/Reception teachers report every single September that they are taking in less and less verbal children compared to 10 or 20yrs ago.

There's been a steady decline for years and this September was no exception. Interestingly, the teachers said last year that when they did their home visits to over 70 homes, only one home had the TV switched off when they arrived.

steppemum Mon 08-Oct-12 22:59:54

We have always been strict with screen time.
When they were pre-school, they pretty much only watched dvds, no live tv, although we lived where there was no cebeebies. ds had nothing til 2. From 2ish he had about 30 mins after lunch as wind down (we introduced this when he dropped lunch time naps, and ds used to fall asleep in front of it half the time.) Younger dd was having her nap when ds had his dvd so she got no screen time til 2.

youngest dd also kept away until 2 as she was napping. But she has had much more than the others.

Now, aged 9, 7, and 4, they have no tv/screens in morning. They have tv on at 5pm, or can choose computer. We eat at about 5:45 and screens go off.

At weekends they get up and watch tv or computer from 7 am ish until about 9 am. Then no more screens all day.
only ds has a dsi, and he is allowed it at screen time, and occasionally at other times eg in the car.

I do feel strongly about restricting it. But I feel much more strongly about age appropriate viewing. 1 hour of a 15 film is more damaging to a 7 year old than 2 hours unstead of one.

I also feel that you canonly restrict if you yourself don't watch a lot. We don't watch daytime tv, so it is easy to limit time, and then we watch when they are in bed. We have one tv in living room, firm believer in NO tvs in kids bedrooms. Computer is in family room too.

Would be pretty impossible to contain it with wide age range.

zipzap Mon 08-Oct-12 23:02:35

I'd like to know what the evidence behind the suggestions that the author is - and whether or not the author themselves has kids that do/don't watch tv, and why this is (ie was the author biased before going into the study because either they have never had kids and never encountered this problem before, or because they have and have managed to make it work for them).

It seems a huge thing to say no screen time at all for the first three years and I can't see how s/he can possibly have done a statistically valid study to draw such suggestions.

With all these things I reckon it's a case of moderation - choosing age appropriate programmes and not spending too long in front of the screen. I definitely think that both dc have benefited from programmes they've watched - simple counting and sums, letters, dancing, following stories through, watching slapstick humour, empathising with characters, developing favourite programmes and understanding that your brother likes different things so you need to share the tv time, you can't always watch what you want...

Lots of the things that the dc like are actually old things - Tom and Jerry, Scooby Doo, TinTin, Asterix, Mickey Mouse, Paddington, the Clangers - these things have stood the test of time for good reason. There are new things they love too - Phineas and Ferb, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Deadly 60, Horrible Histories, Art Attack and more.

When they watch something that is interesting to them they learn - ds1 is forever spouting animal or history or geography facts that he has picked up from the tv (he also likes adult documentaries on wildlife or how things are made or big interesting engineering projects etc) - he soaks it all up like a sponge and being able to see stuff on screen helps so much more with remembering things. It's a long way from being able to go 'through the round window' on Playschool which was about as much factual stuff as you got in my day (showing my age now!) until you were old enough for Blue Peter.

They are happy to sing and dance along to songs, copy art projects, be amazed by the fantastical projects that Phineas and Ferb undertake or count along with Mickey and friends. COuld I do that with them - some of it, maybe - but all of it, all of the time? No.

Both boys are happy whizzing around on the iPad and iPhone (as well as on computers and games such as the Wii) - and this will stand them in good stead in later life as they will have grown up using technology without any fear, with a healthy ability to explore and use it - and in years to come I hope that they will be able to see amazing ways in which to develop it that just won't have occurred to our generations.

The only time that I do get worried is by the fact that when the dc play with the iPad or iPhone, they tend to hold it on their lap. I always switch off wi-fi and the phone signal, and I do try to encourage them to put it on a cushion or table, or to lie on the sofa so it is in front of them rather than on them, but you just never know what long periods of exposure to whatever radiates from the devices will do to them or their fertility in years to come. And I don't think that people are going to know until it is too late, maybe not until their children are born from what I understand of epigenetics. (Yes it would be nice to be able to get a nice lead shielded case for kids to use with such devices just in case - I know I'll probably get labelled OTT but I suspect that in years to come people will be shocked by how lax we are about this). However I suspect that this is not an aspect that is covered in the study per se if it is concerned about screen time rather than proximity to screens.

I also know that too much time looking at screens that are too close when their eyesight is developing can mean that they don't develop their full range of visual acuity (my psychology degree was a long time ago now so I'm a bit rusty on this!) but from what I understood at the time, as long as there is still a reasonable amount of exposure to looking at things at all different distances then you should be fine.

TeWiDoesTheHulaInHawaii Mon 08-Oct-12 23:09:59

Limits that strict are just unrealistic. How do you stop your naturally curious toddler from ever looking at your smart phone, and why would you want to?

We are a tech friendly house, that means it's limited and supervised but treated positively. I have a 3yo that can type, use a mouse of touchpad. (she can write her name with a pen too) as far as we're concerned that's good, she can use a computer the next few years will mostly be about learning to use common programmes, leaving plenty of educational years left to learn all the things her generation will need to know. There needs to be a much greater emphasis on technical ICT skills like programming or as a country we will be left behind.

Educational games are no replacement for chatting to your child about letters and numbers but they work well alongside through sheer repetition and encourage independent learning and problem solving.

Sitting around doing nought but watching spiderman and playing fruit ninja isn't going to be all that great for development. But that isn't all that screen time is.

Using technology, engaging with media and the arts can be a wonderful, positive, inspiring thing, in far too many ways to mention, treating it as dangerous us extremely foolish and quite sad really.

TeWiDoesTheHulaInHawaii Mon 08-Oct-12 23:16:07

By the way - I'm 25, generation Y apparently, they did some research a while back that amongst other things growing up with the internet and screens meant our brains were wired slightly differently. Amongst other things; we're naturally better at skimming to pick out important information and being concise.

I think that's pretty handy!

crackcrackcrak Mon 08-Oct-12 23:33:03

Awwww why don't you!!

I limit screen time quite easily. Dd watches about 30 minutes of cbeebies in the morning while I do things and sometimes a bit in the afternoon. I only allow cbeebies as I don't approve of the adverts on other channels.
I don't have an iPad and dd (3) shows no interest in my laptop.
However, we are out if the house most if the day in most days. If we were at home more I would find it more difficult that saying that, dd switches off the telly quite often if she dislikes the programme and trots off to find me of her playroom etc

Emerald6 Mon 08-Oct-12 23:36:34

We don't have a tv but our nearly three year old watches it at nursery sometimes and she watches iplayer or a dvd every now and then at home.
She never seems that bothered about it and will always choose 'helping' in the kitchen or getting outside if there's a choice.

However, when we go to grandparents house which is about once a month the tv is often on in the background, people are sat in front of it whilst also on their phones or ipads, its screen overdose! It will hold her attention for about 20 mins but then she wanders off.

Asmywhimsytakesme Mon 08-Oct-12 23:40:56

We've managed to largely stick to the no tv under 2 rule at our house as we don't watch tv at all ourselves. Ours is 15 months and hasn't seen tv at all except for:

- tv on in a soft play cafe where we go around once a month and in gym where we go x 3 per week to swim (too high for dc to watch really, luckily)
- tv weirdly left on at someone's house at a bf support group meeting.
- tv left on during play dates
-tv left on at my parents

I don't know anyone who has a child who watches less tv than ours does. Can't see how I could have avoided the screen exposure unless I was prepared to avoid the pool and soft play and tell friends and family to turn off their tvs, which i wouldn't do - too pfb smile

So I would say it is perfectly possible to keep to the recommendations but you have to be very determined and even non telly watchers like us find it hard as other family members/friends have it on so often and wall mounted tvs in public places are now so common.

gelo Mon 08-Oct-12 23:56:41

I'm sure it is possible to limit it, but in the modern world it's not very normal to and I'm not entirely sure it's desirable to either. My dc have grown up doing a range of things in their spare time including screen time. One has grown increasingly fond of/addicted to computer games & programming activities to the point where he spends a lot of time on his computer and is by most definitions a computer geek. At a recent programming competition he attended the test tasks were 5 hours long, so clearly just doing 2 hours at a time wouldn't be adequate preparation. I have to say, I tend to think the skills he's learned will be pretty useful in life so I'm not too bothered as long as it's not done to the exclusion of all else (which it isn't).

CelineMcBean Tue 09-Oct-12 00:11:51

I am curious what the supposed harm and impact are.

My child was almost deaf and consequently mute until he was 3. He only started taking an interest in screens and conincidentally books when he could hear and communication verbally. Before that his attention for such things was very limited. He might have watched a short you tube clip about a train or a car.

He has been interested in letters, numbers, shapes and drawing on my iPhone for a while. He also likes nature programmes and we look things up together online such as how to milk a cow to help him understand the world. Seeing things moving and hearing sounds has a positive effect on his learning.

If I left any child alone to interact with just a screen or just a book for hours on end I don't think that would be healthy. Screens are not evil if used thoughtfully and in moderation.

Woozley Tue 09-Oct-12 00:24:05

I think with under threes, not many of them would sit still for long enough to watch TV for long periods anyway. Also you have to look at the bigger picture of the advantage to parents of having them engaged by something which is not you for a little while, making for happier parents and happier children. I am never a fan of banning things altogether, it just makes for forbidden fruit.

Nor am I comfortable with so-called experts telling me what limits are acceptable. Based on some dodgy research usually. I take it all with a pinch of salt. If you can look at your kids and and see they are happy, healthy, doing well at school then I don't really need an expert telling me something is "wrong".

MaryZed Tue 09-Oct-12 00:47:31

I have just seen this.

No more than two hours at the age of 16?

Let me just say Ha Ha. Yes hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahabloodyha <hollow laugh>

[unhelpful]

CelineMcBean Tue 09-Oct-12 00:53:42

Do we know the reasons for this researcher's opinions? Or is it just that he has never met any children?

ZombTEE Tue 09-Oct-12 06:09:13

Really not sure how it would work as the primary school that is our first choice for our son has computers in every classroom and the use of them is integrated into lessons all day.

The internet is a huge research tool. Why should I limit my son's access to knowledge just because it's on a screen instead of in a book?

We did limit our son up to the age of 2. Now we don't because after he comes home from pre-school (he's just started, he's 3.3) he is exhausted. So he gets to put the TV on when he gets home. Sometimes he sits there like a lump watching it, but more often he plays with other things at the same time.

I notice Justine hasn't said what will happen to a child who has more than that ridiculously small amount of TV. Will their brains explode?

Didn't think so.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 09-Oct-12 07:01:10

Thanks for all the comments. This report in the Guardian that explains more about the report and the suggested impact of screen time.

handbagCrab Tue 09-Oct-12 07:11:34

Hmmmm. So perhaps it's about how technology is used and integrated into a healthy lifestyle as opposed to the technology itself?

lubeybooby Tue 09-Oct-12 07:11:45

My DD is 16 now and I have never limited her screen time, and shock horror I even allowed her a TV in her bedroom to watch DVD's on from the age of 6.

She did self limit though and go and do other things of her own accord even as a very small child. And the times she was watching TV or on a PC I had to parent her as well, she was never left to it. We would watch together and discuss things.

What supposed harm is it meant to do? Because I have one very happy, healthy, clever, hardworking, polite, kind teen who has never given me even a days trouble.

handbagCrab Tue 09-Oct-12 07:19:09

Are the studies comparing poor dc who are neglected and strapped in their buggy all day with only cbeebies for company with very hippy middle class children who don't have anything more advanced than a spinning Jenny in the home?

We're studies done in the say 1920s on how a child's brain developed and we are comparing those with now? My parents used to watch tv and go to the cinema in the 50s/60s, me and DH had loads of exposure in the 80s. Who are we comparing these children to?

ZombTEE Tue 09-Oct-12 07:34:38

Ah, so it's not the watching. It's the sitting there!

So why not point out that reading is just as bad? Or painting. Or really anything that isn't sport? Why pick on screens?

As I said, my son rarely just sits and watches. He's usually jumping around or playing with something.

CelineMcBean Tue 09-Oct-12 08:17:45

Oh Justine you didn't say it was Aric Sigman! The man is properly bonkers! He has come out with some extremely dubious stuff in the past.

Tbh now I know it's him and his agenda I am confident it's all a lot of tosh. Haven't some of his "research methods" been discredited before? <<Googles>>

Lexilicious Tue 09-Oct-12 08:24:08

The first paragraph of that article is bollocks. "By the age of 7, a child born today in the UK will have spent a year of 24h/day in front of a screen". That means one-seventh of their life. Not possible. More than half of their life up to about 18 months is spent asleep, and about another 4 hours a day eating. That would then mean nearly a half of their remaining waking time would have to be plonked in front of a screen - 4 hrs a day. I cannot imagine that at all. My 3yo sleeps 11 hours a night so that's still about 4 hours per day to fit in with this average. It's either outrageous counting of any glimpse of a screen by the study, or ridiculously lazy journalism interpreting it.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Tue 09-Oct-12 08:29:38

for us, we do what works for our family.
we don't have screens in the childrens bedrooms
we have 1 tv in the sitting room only.
They have always been restricted on their computer time and tv time.
at the weekends the tv goes off at 9.30am (it may come back on later in the afternoon though)

CelineMcBean Tue 09-Oct-12 08:30:24

According to that Guardian link it's all hypothesis any way and even Sigman hasn't proved causation.

Sigman acknowledges that none of the studies prove that screens cause children harm. "The associations between screen time and health risk cited … do not prove direct causation," he writes.

Without a link to the actual study it is hard to be accurate but the indication from that press piece is that the issue is one of inactivity (i can think of loads of reasons for that including the change in our attitude to children's freedoms and play over the last 40 years) and the other is neglect. Not bothering to interact for hours at a time and substituting parenting with screen watching is instinctively harmful - but so would leaving a child on their own in a cot or with just a doll or a book.

I would expect inactivity and lack of interaction are the problems and excess screen time is just the latest method of crappy parenting.

Lexilicious Tue 09-Oct-12 08:32:48

actual article - link in guardian is broken. I don't have an Athens account so can't read the full text.

Still think it's unrepresentative bollocks. Flits between US and Europe examples in just the first three paragraphs. I would like to know the source of the data counting how many screens to which children have unrestricted access in the average household.

And what about physical Wii games - surely a conundrum if the hypothesis is that screen time is sedentary and passive.

Lexilicious Tue 09-Oct-12 08:34:54

But he's getting his article talked about, and people will do studies to disprove his vague correlations, so he'll get citations. Doesn't matter whether a citation is positive or negative, it bumps you up the rankings!!!

CelineMcBean Tue 09-Oct-12 08:35:18

Ooh I have an Athens password. I think. Will try to get article

CelineMcBean Tue 09-Oct-12 08:41:08
nextphase Tue 09-Oct-12 08:42:47

well, DS1 was practically screen free til he was 2 (had maybe 30 mins a week of TV in the minority language of the house). Then DS2 arrived, and we discovered CeeBeebies! Screen time went through the roof in the early days of bf. It has now settled down to 15 mins in the mornings before nursery, as I need some time to get me clean and dressed (DH working away a lot at the moment), and another 15-30 mins in the evenings. I think thats quite a lot.

Because of this DS2 has had screen time since he was tiny.

Its about the only time they will sit still, except for me reading to them. I'd love for it not to be screen time, but do think they need to sit down once in a while!

Lexilicious Tue 09-Oct-12 08:47:30

Thanks celine!

CelineMcBean Tue 09-Oct-12 09:02:33

I have just skimmed the article (on my iPhone as it happens). Tenuous is the word that springs to mind. He appears to be approaching this with the attitude that screen time is bad. His lack of evidence and evidence selection seems to be a bit off. Some of the studies cited claim children spend hours a day glued to screens. They would have to be watching almost continuously from waking to sleeping with the exception of school time to achieve some of those figures.

He disregards or does not suggest alternative causes. He doesn't look at the social causes of why we use screens more. Just saying "don't use them as much because they might be bad for you" which IMHO is what he's implying, is not really robust enough for me.

It's clear he's pushing an agenda and I would go so far as to say he has picked "evidence" that fits his pet theory rather than conducting a wide review.

Has Ben Goldacre got hold of this yet? Can't wait to see what he makes of it!

CailinDana Tue 09-Oct-12 09:07:39

Excuse my language but what utter bollocks. In 50 years people will look back on attitudes like this and laugh, the same way we laugh at the idea that women's wombs would fall out if they played sport that was too vigorous or that reading Jane Austen was harmful to a woman's virtue. TV and computers are still relatively new and modern and it's going to take some time before the world's ills are no longer pinned on it. Of course by that time there will be some other bogey man that can be blamed for the world going wrong, when in fact it's just humans being shitty to other humans that causes suffering and that doesn't change no matter what's in our living rooms.

What the report seems to ignore is the fact that a child who spends 3-4 or more solid hours a day, every day, in front of a tv is being neglected. A neglected child will always show some ill effect later in life. Of course children who are neglected will show a lack of social skills, lack of empathy and perhaps an inability to concentrate later in life - that's what you would expect, and that's what happened to neglected children long before tv was ever invented. It's far better that that child at least has a tv to keep him/her company and teach him/her language than that they're locked on their own in a dark room with no entertainment at all.

People have been sitting down to be entertained by others since the human race could talk. The fact that the others happen to be on a screen rather than in person doesn't take from the value of that activity. Going to the theatre isn't more worthy just because it costs more money. Doing any activity for long long hours, to the exclusion of other activities, isn't healthy, and that includes sport and reading.

CelineMcBean Tue 09-Oct-12 09:12:55

Can I add that Aric Sigman used to be all over kids' telly in the 1980s. I remember him on Going Live. Seems a bit bitter now the tv work has dried up...

MainlyMaynie Tue 09-Oct-12 09:36:09

Ah, it's about inactivity. I thought there was actually going to be a study on whether use of ipads etc. had positive or negative impacts, which would have been interesting. I agree it's not good to limit physical activity, but I don't think that's incompatible with a bit of screen time. DS watches youtube videos on the ipad and joins in with the dancing. Lots of activities we're encouraged to do with young children involve sitting still, like reading, stacking blocks etc.. A toddler left to choose will only sit still for a couple of minutes anyway.

bigkidsdidit Tue 09-Oct-12 09:39:28

I don't understand how sitting watching a screen is any worse than sitting reading a book? Still inactivity.

I limit my toddler to 30 minutes a day but I will not be going completely telly free. He loves it, he's learnt loads of words and races round doing the dance at the end of Night Garden. I don't see that as a bad thing.

Incidentally (anecdata alert!) I didn't have a telly till I was 10 and now I ADORE it and watch loads.

OhGood Tue 09-Oct-12 09:53:04

I try really hard to limit it. DD is 2.5. At a CM, so I have to take into account screentime there. So she gets 15 mins of Peppa Pig (all she will watch) at home most nights after supper. We also YouTube for animated nursery rhymes.

Some things I think / have noticed / believe - about my DD, can't comment otherwise:

I think ads are actively damaging (esp for body image issues) and I won't let her watch them until she is old enough to use imaging software herself.

Even faintly age-inappropriate content gets her disturbed and upset.

She has very distinct and vivid dreams about stuff she has seen on TV.

If she watches TV in the hour before bed she won't settle well. Fact.

One win is sing/dance/yoga/bounce-around style toddler short clips, which we find on YouTube and all dance around to. I also like these because they look 'real' - hokey production values, filmed in the garden, messy kids.

I would like some properly reasoned and researched information on this whole issue. For a start, it seems to me that there are huge differences in sitting watching TV and playing an interactive spelling game on a phone or tablet. Saying 'no screen time' is not a useful, informed response. I would also like some better information about programming schedules, which should include information about what's age-appropriate and why. I would like to know which programmes we can sit together and count or spell or sing to. I think all advertising against children's programmes should be banned.

wintersnight Tue 09-Oct-12 09:57:19

What about screen time where children are actively using computers so for example learning to program at code club You need to differentiate between active and passive activities rather than saying all screen time is bad.

BegoniaBigtoes Tue 09-Oct-12 10:05:50

Screen time is generally unlimited in our house, that is there's no formal time maximum - but we do actively suggest other exciting things to do / go out a lot / have a garden etc. and will distract the DC from the telly or if necessary turn it off if it's been too long. We also use it as a reward so for example, no kids' telly in the morning until everyone's dressed and ready. However we watch the news, so the tv is actually on!

I do dislike excessive ads and we mainly avoid them by watching recorded things.

The kids love computer stuff and use laptops, ipads, and leapster toys. DS aged 7 loves minecraft (creative mode, so not scary) and I'm sure it helps him a lot with his motor control and concentration (and creativity). He is also learning programming from DP. DD aged 2 does jigsaws and puzzles on the ipad. Having kids learn how to use computers is surely one of the best posible things we can do for them - with safeguards of course. It's a skill they will need.

I'm not worried about activity levels at all. My DC are incredibly active, bouncy, energetic and not overweight (DS is so active it's hard to get weight on him, despite a lot of computer time). We go for walks, playground, scootering, soft play, whatever all the time.

I think one important aspect is probably parental involvement. We have no TVs in bedroom, just one telly and an adult is around when they're watching TV/ playing on computers, to discuss things with them, talk about when to switch it off, help out etc. They often self-limit as they decide they'd rather help cook, play with lego, go outside or whatever.

BegoniaBigtoes Tue 09-Oct-12 10:07:57

Oh and given free choice of telly, in the evening when DD is in bed, DS will choose David Attenborough shows or How Do They Do It - massively educational and quality telly. He has learned so much from them and really engages with them. I think we need to beware of equating low activity levels with screen time being evil. It's not.

Zwitterion Tue 09-Oct-12 10:11:13

Just read the article in today's paper. Hmmm. Seems to be more about inactivity for younger ones, which happens when we're reading a book.

Also, if you're not a proper, university based, peer reviewed researcher I'm not that concerned about your opinion.

Fishandjam Tue 09-Oct-12 10:21:22

I'm not sure we should be feeding this troll. Aric Sigman (the author of the review) is notorious for cherry-picking evidence to suit his claims. Also, at the risk of sounding elitist, he's not a scientist who does his own, properly conducted research. Just Google him and you'll see what I mean.

I experienced a frisson of parental guilt when I heard this "study" reported on 5Live, but I relaxed when I found out Sigman was behind it.

If there's a controlled study of, say, 5000 children who have had their viewing habits studied over, say, 10 years, and if after controlling for other influences (e.g. social deprivation etc) it is shown that kids who watch more than 2 hours of TV per day are significantly statistically more likely to be antisocial, behind in reading ability, or whatever, then I'll pay attention. Until then, no.

Fishandjam Tue 09-Oct-12 10:22:31

Jinx zwitterion!

We only have the one DD and she is looked after by the grandparents when we're working. As they are able to devote all their time to her we don't watch any children's television at all with her, and she only has limited viewing of adult TV, none of which interests her. The only stuff she has ever "watched" is dance or ballet, which interest her and she tries to copy.

I can understand parents in more stressed environments using the TV to occupy children, or to use it as a learning resource. As she has 24/7 attention from devoted adults, we have plenty of opportunity to teach her via non-TV methods.

She will also be attending Steiner education, so TV is discouraged anyway, and she will not be the odd-one-out, though I understand from parents of older children, that restriction of TV time does become more difficult once they're teens. We will cross that bridge when we come to it - there's not actually a lot that interests us on TV anyway so as a family, we don't have the soap culture embedded into us. If we do watch stuff it's documentaries or history programmes.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 09-Oct-12 11:20:48

May I just point out:

correlation does not equal causation

mummylouise Tue 09-Oct-12 11:24:01

My kids are allowed 1 hour computer/xbox/nintendo/wii time a day with 2 hours on a sat and sun. I mointer this by using time sheets. they watch tv on top of this but only up to 6pm which is adult tv time - news etc. during the week they are out most late afternoon/early evenings so i don't find this a chore to police. i am lucky in that they both love to read and are encouged to do so before bed.

ChunkyPickle Tue 09-Oct-12 11:31:20

My 2 year old watches TV, and plays on an ipad (he's a whizz). I think a big difference comes when they start vegging out watching the TV whereas DS is a very interactive TV viewer - counting, laughing, joining in, following the plot and telling me about it etc.

I can't see that it's significantly different from a book when used in this way.

I can see that when he's a bit older I will have to be careful about him keeping active, but until then, Mr Tumble can keep teaching him sign language (yes, he's learned quite a few signs just from watching something special!)

BeehavingBaby Tue 09-Oct-12 12:45:48

We don't have a telly and the DDs don't know about iplayer or youtube. They are 7, 5 and 2. I had a free trial of reading eggs recently but it didn't catch the attention of DD2 who I intended it for. May try alphablocks games next but this is for 10-20min slots maybe twice a week only. IMO the only benefit of TV is making really dull jobs like tidying up laundry and washing up bearable so I do watch iPlayer occasionally but DDs don't have that excuse yet!

Startailoforangeandgold Tue 09-Oct-12 12:53:48

Pigs might fly.
Life is far too short to gather up phones, iPods, Walkmans, laptops and then chase DCs off 3 desktop machines and two TVs.

Only to have them say, but Mum I've got 'my maths' to do.

Anyway, you lot and my book are on my iPod and my stuff for tonight's meeting is on my desk top. So I'll be staring at screens too!

xkcdfangirl Tue 09-Oct-12 14:59:27

This psuedoscience headline grabbing publicity stunt is from the same guy that claimed "Facebook Causes Cancer" and similar attention-grabbing but evidence-free sillinesses.

Dr Sigman is not a scientist. He ignores evidence that doesn't support his case. That's not what scientists do.

See www.badscience.net/2009/02/the-evidence-aric-sigman-ignored/

It is obvious to anyone with half a brain that too much TV can prevent a child from other useful developmental activities. It is also obvious that a modest amount can be educational. We don't need to pay any attention to the books of a silly self-publicist to help us decide what is the right balance for our children.

MaryZed Tue 09-Oct-12 15:01:08

I just saw this guy (at least I think it's him) on the news, and the interviewer asked three times whether there was any evidence that screen time was harmful.

He avoided the question spectacularly. So I assume he has no evidence [baffled]

CelineMcBean Tue 09-Oct-12 15:14:29

He admits in his own paper there is no direct correlation (otherwise known as "evidence" or "proof" of his theory).

Btw, he is also the knobber who claimed daycare harms children.

He obviously has issues. I blame his mother <<joking>>

CelineMcBean Tue 09-Oct-12 15:19:43

Paper? My apologies. I should have said "Article without full literature review or methodology".

I know undergrads who would raise an eyebrow at Aric Sigman's "research methods".

tabbycat7 Tue 09-Oct-12 15:34:02

Does this include school? Because interactive whiteboards are used all the time in primary schools even in nursery.

My DSes (7, 4 and 2) officially do not watch tv during the week, mainly because the older 2 were developing a screen addiction and were mopey, miserable and, in DS1's case, aggressive when not glued to the telly/ computer/ x box. Even if it was a nice day, or we were out doing something fun. They are allowed a little bit of computer time after tea if they tidy up. DS1 has a blog about buses smile X box time is restricted to the weekend, if it's wet and under DH's supervision.

I wouldn't have a problem with them having screen time otherwise. Most of what they watch/ used to watch is educational. None of them are obese or have speech delay, although the screen addiction thing did present different problems.

mummmsy Tue 09-Oct-12 15:44:38

2 hours is achievable for them perhaps,not for me! given that we,like many families, are out of the house 8am-3.30pm, then there's homework, bath etc and no tv in the morning before school rule, then there's really not a lot of scope for screen time. lots of telly when poorly though!

also, we quite simply didn't have a telly or internet access before my dc was 2 (skint) so there was no telly there either. now as a 7yo dc would pick outside/playing with friends over screentime play. we love watching kids movies together and always enjoyed slumping in front of telly for a bit once we got one at about age 2 and a half. no tv aerial or tv license so all is watched on iplayer etc and dc can't just switch tv on like conventional tv & remote

Perspective from mum of older children here.
Schools have computers in every classroom, it's entirely possible for a child to exceed two hours screen time just at school.
DS1 is doing AS levels and probably spends two hours on computer each evening on homework.
All this is without games or TV.
2012 - life is about screens.

IslaValargeone Tue 09-Oct-12 16:02:20

Sticking my head above the parapet here, as I have always limited screen time.
I am unfamiliar with Aric Sigman's research however.
My dc had no screen time before she was nearly 7 years old, we relaxed this as she became exposed to it through school however.
TV is limited, as is computer time, although we don't see it as some great evil, we are choosy as to what is watched. We do watch family films together on a semi regular basis, and stuff like Planet Earth etc as she is a nature nut.
She is very good at occupying herself and has a great imagination, she was an early reader/talker and her use of language is far ahead of her peers.
I couldn't possibly say that this was a result of limiting screen time though.

IslaValargeone Tue 09-Oct-12 16:05:28

I will also be honest and say I do get a bit hoikey of the judgeypants for tv for pre schoolers. I don't see any need for it.

daisyannalees Sat 11-May-13 09:38:21

My auntie says "tv is great - for parents" . It affords me free time to think and do stuff. It lets me off the responsibility of creating activities for my two daughters. My older daughter didn't watch hardly any tv until she was almost 3. My younger daughter has grown up with it. Screens, and my own lack of discipline over the time spent with them cause the most trouble in my house. They would spend the entire day watching tv or on the laptop if I let them. But our kids learn from our behaviour, they see us online and on our phones. I don't like TV, this generation is the first to have constant kids programmes all day, we don't know the effect it may have on our kids' adult lives. My main issue with tv was how my daughters behaviour was effected by it when she was younger - imitation of the kids on screen - and grumpy moods after it was turned off. I'd always prefer them to be spending their time creatively, drawing, reading, exploring, playing, making. They learn nothing about themselves while on screentime.

NetworkGuy Tue 14-May-13 07:14:47

(LOL at MaryZed reaction).

I have no children, but from comments by my neighbours, know that homework is now being expected via computer from start of secondary school, and would also laugh loudly at the idea you could get a 16yo to be limited to 2 hours a day.

Yes, there needs to be a bit more concentration on the world around us (how many people do you see looking/ typing on their mobile while walking along, unaware of what's happening in the traffic {or the location of/ behaviour of/ risks to/ their own children} but the world has changed significantly since I was in my 20s...

As I have worn glasses nearly all my life, I'm not likely to go for Google Glass (where a small screen may be viewed in a pair of "glasses") but unless, as CelineMcBean wrote, it's clear about the researcher's opinions, it's difficult to consider whether the person "has an agenda" or genuine concerns (with evidence to back them up)...

I laugh, with MaryZed, about the chances, and consider access to the internet more beneficial than dangerous (so long as there is discussion over "good" and "bad" content, and some initial parental oversight).

Just as some would "read" their encyclopedia to learn (and how many families even have a set these days), but most used them for reference, there are excellent resources online, and not just rubbish on TV, though clearly, one needs some guidance as to not accepting as "fact" everything which is presented/ found online.

Unless the researcher has good evidence against it, then 2 hours might be more appropriate at 10-12 (if computer / phone / TV are combined into that limit).

NetworkGuy Tue 14-May-13 07:26:35

Goodness, daisyannalees - how/why did you drag this one up!

Obviously my first coffee has not woken me up properly!

HoneyDragon Tue 14-May-13 07:35:11

So does reading on a tablet or ereader count as screen time? If I print it out on to paper does it stop counting and make me a better parent?

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