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HealthInfo Canterbury

Screen-time strategies

FDP boy with touchpadComputers, smartphones, and even TV and computer games, can be great resources to help your children learn new things, have exciting experiences, and give you a break.

But it's important that parents know what their children and teenagers are watching, both online and on television, and make sure it's age-appropriate (start by checking the classification ratings).

The amount of time your child or teenager spends in front of a screen is also important. Generally, children aged over 8 should spend no more than two out-of-school hours per day in front of a screen (TV, computer or smartphone). For children aged under 8, this should be no more than one hour per day.

By limiting the amount of time they spend in front of a screen, you will increase their exposure to healthy activities, such as socialising, being creative, and getting active.

If you don't keep a close eye on what they're watching, and how long they're watching it for, it's easy for your children to watch material that's too mature for their years (and may be harmful). This can cause problems with their sleep and behaviour, and it can also affect their mental wellbeing and relationships.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Updated June 2016.

Page reference: 220340

Review key: HIPPR-71581