Appropriate Screen Time for Children

Recently WHO (World Health organization) and AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) released guidelines to limit screen time for children. Nowadays kids are immersing in digital devices more than ever before.

It is very important to understand the impact of digital devices and content being consumed by children. Not all contents are equal and the screen time should also be content-specific.
Digital devices such as mobiles, tablets, computers have different purposes and can be also used for productive works. So it is important to categorize screen time taking into consideration the contents.

Contents can be categorized as follows:

  • Entrainment
  • Gaming
  • Communication
  • Productive


Watching videos and using social media is classified as entertainment. Parents need to censor videos watched by children on youtube/TikTok/Instagram etc. Social media is also a very sensitive place, many kids develop mental health problems due to the usage of social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, etc.

Social media should be completely avoided for children aged less than 14.
Screen Time should be limited to 1 hour for children aged less than 16.

Parents should educate children about social media and the consequences of sharing online. Not to share anything online that your child doesn’t want the world to see for eternity. Not contacting strangers online or bullying/sexting anyone online.


Playing offline or online video games. Genres of videos games are also important. Some games involve learning new things, experimenting with ideas, racing; while some other games involve violence such as killing, war, etc.

Screen Time should be limited to 1-hour maximum for children aged less than 16.


Texting, talking or video chatting with friends or family.

Screen Time should be limited to 1-hour maximum for children aged less than 16.


Attending online classes, searching the web for useful information, reading books, reading news, doing school projects can be classified as productive works.

Screen Time should not exceed 5 to 6 hours for children aged between 11 to 18. Children should use blue light prevention glasses while using mobile/tablet/computer for an extended period.


As recommended by AAP, digital media should be completely avoided for children younger than 18 months and should not be allowed to play with digital devices for children 18 to 24 months of age. For children aged less than 11 overall screen time should be exceeded above 1 hour.

Parents need to observe kids’ behaviors. Videos/TV Programs or Video games should be age-appropriate. If the children watch violent videos or play violent games, it is important to observe their behavior afterward and teach them the consequences of violent actions. Also, educate children about the consequences of sharing or interacting with strangers.

Read WHO guide here To grow up healthy, children need to sit less and play more

Read AAP guideline on Screen Time here Where We Stand: Screen Time