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How much screen time is reasonable for young kids?

(16 Posts)
grapefruit Fri 04-Jan-19 10:10:12

My two grandsons (5 and 8) have been given tablets for Christmas. Personally I feel they're too young (although obviously I've kept my views to myself). The older one is quite active but the younger one less inclined towards exercise and definitely more of a sweet tooth. I look after them twice a week and he's always asking for treats whereas my older GS is happy with fruit or other snacks. I'm concerned that poor eating plus not enough exercise is not setting him off for a good start in life. Their parents have supposedly set them time limits but they're not really sticking to them and it only takes a few moans from the kids before they give in to another half hour followed by another. Will the novelty wear off do you think? I read this in the news today about not worrying too much about screen use but I'm not convinced?

BradfordLass72 Sat 05-Jan-19 08:04:37

My dil is a stickler for not having too much screen time, in fact gs doesn't actually watch TV nor own an Tablet.

He has a library of acceptable videos, things like David Attenborough's wildlife programmes and age-appropriate documentaries on subjects he enjoys (dinosaurs, fossils, space).

He can choose about an hour some evenings and weekends but the rest of the time they do old-fashioned things just as I used to.

Just about the only time they watch TV for any length of time is on Superbowl Day, 3rd Feb this year, when they have a Superbowl Party, every bit as good as Christmas smile.

All this has little to do with physical health grapefruit but because dil sees that he may be so easily 'programmed' with values they don't share, such as greed, selfishness and violence and disrespect.

I am also very close to a child of the same age who is allowed unlimited time with his iPad, TV and DVDs and the difference in attitude is unbelievable - he's grasping, selfish and always wanting more. He wasn't like that when he was a toddler but now he reflects 'world values' in a way that upsets me because he was a lovely boy.

BlueBelle Sat 05-Jan-19 08:15:45

That last paragraph is very simplistic and judgemental presuming all kids without ipads are kind caring and wonderful and all kids with iPad use, grow up to be grabbing selfish and unacceptable ?

Maggiemaybe Sat 05-Jan-19 08:26:04

Moderation in all things applies here, surely? The TV and tablets aren’t the devil incarnate! There are brilliant fun and educational things on both and if parents choose wisely children can learn a lot from them.

Maggiemaybe Sat 05-Jan-19 08:49:16

In answer to your question, grapefruit. When my older DGS (5 and 6) first got access to iPads they did pester a fair bit for “just another half hour”, but the novelty did wear off after a while. They rarely ask for them now. I know it’s easy to slip into worrying about our DGS, but it’s up to their parents, not us, to make sure their children get a good diet and enough exercise. We just have to go by their rules regarding screen time and treats. Which can be difficult at times, I know, when pester power’s applied! smile

Iam64 Sat 05-Jan-19 08:54:26

Maggiemaybe is right, it's moderation in all things that make people and children happy. I'm less concerned about screen time now I have direct experience of children who make use of screens or their parents telephones. If we're sitting chatting after eating in a cafe/restaurant, our grandchildren will have had crayons, sticker books etc to play with after they finished eating. If the adult chat goes on a bit, playing games or watching cartoons on a screen can be something we all appreciate. At home they'd be doing more constructive play or racing about in the garden or at the park.
I can't remember ever using the phrase 'moral panic' because I don't like it. I'm about to do so though, I think the negative focus on screen time is something of a moral panic.

Marydoll Sat 05-Jan-19 09:00:47

I totally agree with everything in moderation. There are many educational programmes available for young children which develop mathematical and language skills, it's not all bad.
Children also need a balance between technology and different types of play. Difficult to do, as technology can be addictive.

Greyduster Sat 05-Jan-19 09:20:14

If left to his own devices my 11 year old GS would be permanently attached to his phone or some other device. His mum and Dad put limits on his screen time, as do we, but a lot of nagging goes on to get him to adhere to them, and even though he is an amenable child, it is wearing. We are fortunate that he likes to be outdoors and he also likes reading, but the phone is like a magnet! I don’t like to see very young children with tablets and phones and I think five is far too young, but that is my personal opinion. I’ve seen young children have complete meltdowns when a phone is taken away from them. Having said that, his parents, and DH and I also spend a lot of time on phones and iPads, so I suppose there are times when none of us set him a good example!

Lisalou Sun 06-Jan-19 08:57:00

I think technology can provide a lot of fun for kids, but as has been said, in moderation. My daughter of eleven pesters for a phone, but I have said no phone until she goes to secondary school next year. She is one of the last kids in her class to get a mobile, but I consider that she has no real use for one, and do not want to promote the idea that a phone is a toy. She likes playing on the computer and is allowed to, but her time is limited. She must have finished homework and done her own chores in order to get screen time, and accepts this. Truth is, neither her nor her sister were particularly difficult with screen time. Her brother, on the other hand, was awful during the teen years. We really had to fight him on the subject of screens, he is now twenty and a pretty balanced kid. Likes video games as do all his friends, but is by no means addicted. He plays occasionally but is much more into his music now (he plays bass in a band with some mates) and socialising.
I do think that too much of anything is not good, but with some basic limitations and common sense, they soon learn to regulate their own screen time. As someone said, there is something of a panic on the subject, not unlike the one on watching TV when I was young.

PECS Sun 06-Jan-19 09:10:12

Both my DGSs carry too much weight. Both , imo, have too much time static and too many sweet or starchy snacks. I only have them 2 x week after school and have told them that from this term there is no screen time at our house until 5:30, they are collected by 6:00. They are helping to prepare the meal, doing homework, playing games etc. It is about breaking a habit and reminding them they have other skills and interests beyond screen games!

Luckygirl Sun 06-Jan-19 09:21:21

There are lots of great things to be had from computers/tablets/phones. For instance my DGD looks up things to print out and colour; DGSs look up stuff for homework and things about their interests. Obviously they also watch films/TV programmes etc.

They also race about outside, help me in the house etc.

TerriBull Sun 06-Jan-19 09:25:26

When my gc come to our house, it's very noticeable to me how they clamour to get on either the tablet or the laptop and books are quite secondary, which I find a disappointment, but of course they are like any other generation of their time, so it's hardly surprising. We do restrict their screen time and try and encourage other activities, always an outdoor one weather permitting.

Fennel Sun 06-Jan-19 12:00:43

How much screen time for young children? I would say ideally, none. but have to be realistic and know that it's just not possible.
There has been a lot of research on this, will look it up later. My main worries are
1) Time lost in outdoor play, socialising etc
2) deprived of physical activity.
3) I believe it's addictive.
I have many other concerns, but again, unrealistic to expect anything to change.

Nandalot Sun 06-Jan-19 12:13:29

My twin DGC (7) are only allowed their tablets on Tuesday (tablet Tuesday they call it), and time is limited. however, their attitude is very different when told to turn it off. DGD acquiesces quite amenable but we get tantrums from DGS. I think he could easily get addicted. I think some personalities are more susceptible.

stella1949 Sun 06-Jan-19 12:19:17

Moderation is the key. It's pointless to find fault with their screens and devices, when these things are the norm for everyone now. I'm looking at one as I write, and so is everyone who is on GN.

I was a quiet and solitary child, and spent the vast majority of my time either reading or watching television - the "device" of our time. I still managed to become a pretty well-rounded person . Devices don't worry me at all .

When my GC come here we do all sorts of things - cooking, going out to various activities, reading....AND playing with our devices. Everything in moderation.

Greyduster Sun 06-Jan-19 13:03:30

Like Lisalou’s daughter, my GS was one of the last in his year six class to have a mobile phone and he wasn’t allowed to take it to junior school. He moved up to secondary in September and now the phone is essential, not only for his safety but because it has the school’s student planning app on it, which allows parents to see the homework schedule and gives students essential information about lesson changes and any cancellations of clubs, upcoming sporting fixtures, and lunch menus for the week so that packed lunches can be factored in if there’s nothing he can eat. Makes you wonder how we managed all those years without technology!?