Research links TV to a wide range of negative health effects in children and teens.The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting screen time — time watching TV and videos, playing video and computer games, and surfing the Internet — to the following:
- No more than one to two hours a day for children three and older.
- No screen time at all for children two years of age and younger.
Want more information on the AAP recommendation? Visit the website for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Move it out.
Take the TV, computer, and game consoles (e.g., Playstation, Xbox, Gameboy) out of all bedrooms.
Balance TV time and activity time.
Make it a family rule that minutes of TV-watching must equal minutes of physical activity. Do you want to watch that sitcom? Exercise for 30 minutes first. Looking forward to that weekly drama? Walk for an hour first, then kick back on that couch.
TV can be habit-forming. To keep from overdoing it, make a few house rules. Say, "Don't watch TV on weekdays," or "No more than an hour each night — after homework." Set whatever limits work for you. The important thing is to have some limits, and stick to them.
Use a timer.
One way to help limit your screen time is to use a timer. When the timer goes off, your screen time is up, no exceptions.
Don't eat in front of the TV.
Take the set out of the kitchen, and don't allow food in the TV room.
Don't surf — schedule.
Decide in advance what programs you want to watch during the week. Turn the TV on ONLY when the show is on, and turn it off when the show is over.
Make the most of TV time.
Use a treadmill or stationary bike while you watch TV. Do calisthenics during the commercial breaks. Watch TV standing up — while you do arm circles, knee bends, and leg lifts.
Do you automatically turn the TV on when you come in the house? Does it stay on all the time, even if no one is watching it? Try to break these habits. Watch TV on purpose, not just because it's there.