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.

Screen-Limiting Ideas

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.

Set limits.
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.

Be conscious.
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.​​​

Family Tradition: Giving Back

Start a new family tradition where you volunteer together as a family, not just during the holiday season when many organizations need extra help, but make it a year-round activity.​​

Man's Best Friend

If you are lucky enough to have a dog, you have a built-in buddy to play, wrestle, and walk with. Dogs can serve as a great motivator in getting people to go outside and be active.

Picture This

Try being a photographer — it's a great way to get in touch with your creative side, spending active time outdoors viewing people and places through a lens will change the way you look at the world.​​


Rules for After School

Great suggestions for things you should do after school and before you play video games or watch TV, or start video-chatting with your pals.​

Screens Off Better ZZZZs

Research shows the blue light from your computer or television screen actually helps your brain stay alert, so it's not surprising if you sleep poorly and have trouble getting up when morning comes.​

Simple Healthy Escape

Everyone needs at least some alone time to live a healthy and balanced life. Rather than turning on the TV when alone, consider listening to an audio book.


Snow Business

Hanging out in your PJs to watch brainless reality shows all day is not healthy, and it's not as much fun as playing in the snow.​​​

Track TV Time

The Nielsen ratings indicate the average person spends a whopping four hours per day watching TV. Sitting in front of a TV eats up our leisure time and limits physical activity.​