How Much Screen Time Is Too Much?


Addie Stalk

We are living in a digital world. Wherever you are, you see people, young and old, using their digital devices — phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and television — which adds up to a lot of screen time.

How does the amount of time spent staring at a screen affect your health?  Some recent studies have been trying to find answers to that question.

A 5-year study conducted in Canada from 2011 to 2016, of children between the ages of two and five years, concluded that excessive screen time is related to delays in development.

In a 2018 study, parents completed surveys on how many hours their children spent on independent reading and on other screen-based media.  The study found that brain connectivity is increased by the time spent reading but decreased by the time spend looking at screens.

Recently the National Institute of Health started a 10-year $300 million study to determine the long-term effects of screen time on the developing brains of children.  The initial results based on interviews and brain scans of 4,500 children show that children who spend more than two hours on screens got lower scores on thinking and language tests.

But in spite of all the digital media available, there is good news:  Children still like to read!  According to the 2019 Scholastic’s Kids and Family Reading Report, 58% of children aged 6 to 17 say they “like reading books for fun.” Fifty-two percent of children surveyed think “reading books for fun is extremely or very important.”At Read and Feed, we know how essential reading is for a child’s success in school and in life. Our goal is to give children an appetite for reading and free books to build a home library.