Screen Time: How much is too much?

Published 11th December 2018.



Cwtch Education is a charity dedicated to educating children, and those who care for them, about how to keep safe online and in relationships including cyberbullying, self-esteem, social media use, exploitation and gaming. 


We know from working with parents and teachers that they are increasingly worried about the time children are spending on technology. Research has shown that it’s not just about the amount of time that is spent on devices that’s important, but what they are using it for and whether they are being responsible and maintaining a healthy balance.


Many parents with very young children have told us that they use TV and tablets to entertain children while they are getting on with chores or need a bit of peace! The NSPCC and AAP have studied the effect of screen time on the speck/language, social and psychological development of pre-schoolers. They suggest that babies shouldn’t have any intentional screen time at all and those aged two to five should only have supervised access to age specific apps and TV programmes for around an hour a day.



Technology can be used in lots of amazing ways by school age children, but they should be made aware of the accompanying pitfalls. TV, reading, and listening to music are all passive activities that aid in relaxation but too much can result in less physical activity and fresh air! Interactive use such as browsing, creative apps and gaming can develop certain knowledge and skills but also result in exposure to unsuitable content and inappropriate material and cause sleep problems. Communication can be improved using video and social media, but this can increase the risk of online grooming and often leads to friendship issues, bulling and feeling under pressure to look or behave a certain way. 


What can you do?

  • Talk with your children about the amount of screen time they have, how they use it and create a plan for what would be healthy. This will depend on their age and may have to change as they get older.
  • Set a good example with your children. If you’re on technology all the time, don’t be surprised if they end up doing the same.
  • Plan device free times and create screen free zones i.e. Bedrooms/dining table. This will improve family communication and quality of sleep. Only having devices in family spaces has been shown to reduce the risk of grooming, access to inappropriate material and cyberbullying.
  • Set parental controls and firewalls for blocking and monitoring content and limit when devices can be used. Most service providers have specific advice online and there are apps such as Screen Time that protects a device when not covered by your WIFI




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