Limiting Screen Time

JAMESTOWN, NEW YORK (May 18th, 2017) -- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program would like to bring awareness to the amount of screen time families are exposed to and tips on limiting time spent in front of technology. For many of us, limiting our computer use and getting away from all screens can be a challenge. "Screen time" means television screens, computer monitors, and even the handheld devices we use for checking email, listening to music, watching TV, and playing video games on the go.

Health experts say screen time at home should be limited to two hours or less a day. The time we spend in front of the screen, unless it's work- or homework-related, could be better spent being more physically active. It is recommended that children get at least 60 minutes per day of physical activity and adults, 30 minutes. Research shows that children ages 8-18 spend approximately 7.5 hours using entertainment media, about 4.5 hours watching television, and approximately 1.5 hours on the computer, and over an hour of playing video games. Adults, but especially children are highly impressionable by what they are exposed to on TV. Seeing snack foods, candy, soda, and fast food on television affects all of us. Help your child understand that because it’s on TV—or your favorite TV characters/actors eat or drink it—doesn’t mean a food or drink is good for you.

Here are some tips on how to limit TV time:

-Turn off TV during meals, or remove the TV completely from the eating area if you have one there. Family meals are a good time to talk to each other. Research shows that families who eat together tend to eat more nutritious meals. Make eating together a priority and schedule family meals at least two to three times a week.

-When you do spend time in front of the screen, do something active. Stretch, do yoga and/or lift weights. Or, challenge the family to see who can do the most push-ups, jumping jacks, or leg lifts during TV commercial breaks.

-Set an example for your children. Help them become less dependent on screen activities for entertainment.

-Read books to children.

-Talk to kids about things they enjoy besides screen time.

-Have children make collages or drawings of favorite activities that don’t involve screen time.

As a parent or caregiver, you can set a good example for your kids and set rules that limit their computer time, TV watching, and video game playing to reduce how much time they spend in front of a screen.

The EFNEP Program is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua). CCE-Chautauqua is a subordinate governmental agency with an educational mission that operates under a form of organization and administration approved by Cornell University as agent for the State of New York. It is tax-exempt under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The association is part of the national cooperative extension system, an educational partnership between County, State, and Federal governments. As New York’s land grant university Cornell administers the system in this state. Each Cornell Cooperative Extension association is an independent employer that is governed by an elected Board of Directors with general oversight from Cornell. All associations work to meet the needs of the counties in which they are located as well as state and national goals. For more information, call 716-664-9502 or visit our website at Cornell University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.

Last updated May 17, 2017