ST Podcast: Medical recommendations on how much screen time kids should get

PHOTO: ST FILE

Health Check Ep 7: Medical recommendations on how much screen time kids should get

8:04 mins

Synopsis: In this podcast series, The Straits Times guides you to healthier living, debunks the myths, and examines the impact of national policies with expert guests. 

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said in January 2019 that it would not recommend any age-appropriate time limits because there is not enough evidence that screen time harms a child's health at any age. Instead, it recommends that families negotiate screen time limits with their children based on their needs. 

However, the college did recommend that children refrain from using digital devices in the hour before bedtime because of evidence that this can harm sleep. (1:20)

Dr Ong Say How, a senior consultant and chief of the department of developmental psychiatry at the Institute of Mental Health, said Singapore children are sleep-deprived.

Should you as a parent be concerned when excessive screen time for your child displaces face-to-face social engagement and physical activity? (1:37)

Should a child below 18 months of age be exposed to any screen time at all, even if they are watching educational videos on mobile phones? (2:45)

Key recommendations on screen time from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health:

Families can ask these four key questions as a guide:

1. Is screen time in your household controlled?

2. Does screen use interfere with what your family wants to do?

3. Does screen use interfere with sleep?

4. Are you able to control snacking during screen time?

Key recommendations on screen time from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

1. For children younger than 18 months, avoid the use of screen media other than video-chatting.

2. Parents of children aged 18 to 24 months who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming and watch it with their children to help them understand what they are seeing.

3. For those aged two to five, limit screen use to one hour a day of high-quality programmes. Parents should watch the programmes with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them. (3:40)

Video games: Is that considered good or bad screen time? (5:00)

Produced by: Joyce Teo and Ernest Luis

Edited by: Adam Azlee

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