Screen Time - getting the right balance!

(original article from ACECQA Newsletter Issue 3 2015)


How much screen time is too much for children? It’s a topic that has been widely discussed by educators and professionals in the children’s education and care sector.


The Department of Health defines screen time as time spent using electronic media such as television, seated electronic games, portable devices and computers. 


We all want screen time to be educational and healthy. Tablets and technologies are a fantastic educational tool, but they can also get in the way of meaningful interactions and play. 

Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend:

  • children aged less than 2 years should not have any screen time 
  • children aged 2 to 5 years should limit screen time to less than one hour a day and
  • children aged 5 to 12 years should limit screen time, for entertainment purposes, to two hours a day.

If possible, the time children spend in front of a screen should be a shared and collaborative experience - read a story together, solve a puzzle or enjoy dancing along to a favourite music video. 

It’s all about engagement and meaningful play. Creating opportunities for children to play cooperatively, participate well together and share their interests, helps develop social skills and is paramount to children’s learning and brain development. 

The more time spent being active, engaging in social interactions and away from the screen, the healthier children will be. 

Educators and parents can all play a role in shaping young children’s behaviours.

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