Healthy Kids in a Digital World: Screen-Time Facts


  • Children who spend less time with screens:
    • Do better in school (37, 39)
    • Have more time for creative play and interacting with caring adults (14, 36, 39, 41, 42)
    • Spend more time with their families (14, 39, 42)
    • Fall asleep faster (39)
    • Sleep longer (33, 34, 6)
    • Eat better (11, 25, 40, 43)
    • Get more exercise (21, 37)
  • Digital features (in e-books) can interfere with story understanding. (15, 17, 30, 38)

  • Kids who use screens at night have more sleep problems. (18)

  • Keep screens out of bedrooms. (1, 10, 20)

  • Screen-free, family meals encourage healthy eating. (16, 45)

  • Kids learn screen-time habits from parents and caregivers. (7)

  • TV, digital games, and the internet can be habit-forming. (9, 12, 13, 19, 22, 24, 26, 29, 31, 44)

  • Content matters: Even a little exposure to fast-paced, violent, sexualized, or commercialized games and programs can be harmful. (2, 4, 5, 8, 23, 27, 28, 32, 35)

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding screens for children under 2 and no more than 1 to 2 hours of screen time a day for older kids. (3)

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2. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2000). Joint statement on the impact of entertainment violence on children. Congressional Public Health Summit. Retrieved February 9, 2008 from 
3. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2013). Children, adolescents, and the media. Pediatrics. (DOI: 10.1542/peds.2013-2656). Retrieved October 14, 2014 from 
4. American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications. (2009). Media violence. Pediatrics, 124, 1495-1503.
5. American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. (2007). Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association3. Retrieved March 25, 2008, from
6. Barlett, N.D., Gentile, D.A., Barlett, C.P., Eisenmann, J.C., et al. (2012). Sleep as a mediator of screen time effects on children’s health outcomes. Journal of Children and Media, 6(1), 37-50. 
7. Bleakley, A., Jordan, A., & Hennessy, M. (2013). The Relationship Between Parents’ and Children’s Television Viewing. Pediatrics, 132(2), e364-e371.
8. Buijzen, M. & Valkenburg, P. M. (2003). The effects of television advertising on materialism, parent–child conflict, and unhappiness: A review of research. Applied Developmental Psychology, 24(4), 437–456. 
9. Carr, N. (2010). The shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains. New York, NY: Norton. 17-35.
10. Chahal, H., Fung, C., Kuhle, S., & Veugelers, P.J. (2012). Availability and night-time use of electronic entertainment and communication devices are associated with short sleep duration and obesity among Canadian children. Pediatric Obesity. DOI: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2012.00085.x
11. Chaput, J. P., Visby, T., Nyby, S., Klingenberg, L., et al. (2011). Video game playing increases food intake in adolescents: a randomized crossover study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 93(6), 1196-1203. 
12. Christakis, D., & Zimmerman, F. (2006). Early television viewing is associated with protesting turning off the television at age 6. Medscape General Medicine, 8(2), 63. 
13. Clarke, B. Dr., & Hitchenor, B. (2014). Do Young People Sometimes Feel They Are Addicted To The Internet? Tablets for Schools, Family Kids and Youth. Retrieved on October 30, 2014 from
14. Courage, M., Murphy, A., Goulding, S., & Setliff, A. (2010). When the television is on: The impact of infant-directed video on 6- and 18-month-olds’ attention during toy play and on parent-infant interaction. Infant Behavior and Development, 33, 176-188. 
15. De Jong, M. T., & Bus, A. G. (2002). Quality of book-reading matters for emergent readers: An experiment with the same book in regular or electronic format. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(1), 145-155. 
16. Fitzpatrick, E. et al., (2007). Positive effects of family dinner are undone by television viewing. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 107, 666-671. 
17. Formby, S. Dr. (2014). Parents’ perspectives: Children’s use of technology in the Early Years. National Literacy Trust. Retrieved on October 30, 2014 from
18. Garrison, M.M., Liekweg, & K. Christakis, D. A. (2011). Media use and child sleep: The impact of content, timing, and environment. Pediatrics, 128(1), 29-35. 
19. Gentile, D.A., Choo, H., Liau, A., Sim, T., Li, D., Fung, D., & Khoo, A. (2011). Pathological Video Game Use Among Youths: A Two-Year Longitudinal Study. Pediatrics, 127(2), e319-e329. 
20. Gilbert-Diamond, D. ScD, Li, Z. PhD, Adachi-Mejia, A.M. PhD, McClure, A.C. MD, & Sargent, J.D. MD. (2014). Association of a Television in the Bedroom with Increased Adiposity Gain in a Nationally Representative Sample of Children and Adolescents. JAMA Pediatrics - The Journal of the American Medical Association, 168(5), 427-434. 
21. Gingold J.A., Simon A.E., & Schoendorf K.C. (2014). Excess screen time in US children: association with family rules and alternative activities. Clinical Pediatrics, 53(1), 41-50. 
22. Grüsser, S. M., Thalemann, D. R., & Griffiths, M. D. (2007). Excessive computer game playing: Evidence for addiction and aggression? Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 10(2), 290-292. 
23. Hargreaves, D., & Tiggemann, M. (2002). The effect of television commercials on mood and body dissatisfaction: The role of appearance-schema activation. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 21(3), 287-308. 
24. Harris Interactive. (2007). Video game addiction: Is it real? Harris Interactive. Retrieved October 30, 2010 from
25. Harrison, K., Liechty, J., & The Strong Kids Program (2011). U.S. preschoolers’ media exposure and dietary habits: The primacy of television and time limits of parental mediation. Journal of Children and Media, 6(1), 18-36. 
26. Hart, G. M., Johnson, B., Stamm, B., Angers, N., Robinson, A., Lally, T., & Fagley, W. H. (2009). Effects of video games on adolescents and adults. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 12(1), 63-65. 
27. Horovitz, B. (2006). Six strategies marketers use to make kids want things bad. USA Today, 1B. Retrieved March 2, 2008. 
28. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (2006). Food marketing to children and youth: Threat or opportunity?. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 2.
29. Koepp, M. J., Gunn, R. N., Lawrence, A. D., Cunningham, V. J., Dagher, A., Jones, T., & Grasby, P. M. (1998). Evidence for striatal dopamine release during a video game.
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30. Kozminsky, E., & Asher-Sadon, R. (2013). Media type influences preschooler’s literacy development: E-book versus printed book reading. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects, 9, 231-245. 
31. Kuss, D., & Griffiths, M. (2012). Internet and Gaming Addiction: A Systematic Literature Review of Neuroimaging Studies. Brain Sciences, 2(3), 247-374.
32. Lillard, A. S. & Peterson, J. (2011). The immediate impact of different types of television on young children’s executive function. Pediatrics, 128(4), 644-649. 
33. Magee, C.A. PhD, Jeong, J.K. PhD, Vella, & S.A. PhD. (2014). Bidirectional Relationships Between Sleep Duration and Screen Time in Early Childhood. JAMA Pediatrics - The Journal of the American Medical Association, 168(5), 465-470. 
34. Marinelli, M. MSc, PhD, Sunyer, J. MD, PhD, Alvarez-Pedrerol, M. PhD, Iñiguez, C. PhD, Torrent, M. MD, PhD, Vioque J., Turner, M. C. PhD, & Julvez, J. PhD. (2014). Hours of Television Viewing and Sleep Duration in Children. JAMA Pediatrics - The Journal of the American Medical Association, 168(5), 458-464. 
35. Mössle, T., Kleimann, M., Rehbein, F., & Pfeiffer, C. (2010). Media use and school achievement--boys at risk? British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 28(3), 699-725. 
36. Nathanson, A. I. & Rasmussen, E. E. (2011). TV viewing compared to book reading and toy playing reduces responsive maternal communication with toddlers and preschoolers. Human Communication Research, 37(4), 465-487. 
37. Pagani, L., Fitzpatrick, C., Barnett, T. A., & Dubow, E. (2010). Prospective associations between early childhood television exposure and academic, psychosocial, and physical well-being by middle childhood. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 164(5), 425-431. Retrieved February 7, 2012 from  
38. Parish-Morris, J., Mahajan, N., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R.M., & Collins, M.F. (2013). Once Upon a Time: Parent–Child Dialogue and Storybook Reading in the Electronic Era. Mind, Brain, and Education, 7(3), 200-211. 
39. Pressman, R., Owens, J., Schettini Evans, A., & Nemon, M. (2014). Examining the Interface of Family and Personal Traits, Media, and Academic Imperatives Using the Learning Habit Study. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 42(5), 347-363. 
40. Tavaras, E. M., Sandora, T. J., Shih, M.C., et al. (2006). The association of television and video viewing with fast food intake by preschool-age children. Obesity, 14, 2034–2041. 
41. Valkenberg, P.M. (2001). Television and the child’s developing imagination. In D.G. Singer & J.L. Singer (Eds.) Handbook of children and the media. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 121-134.
42. Vandewater, E. A., Bickham, D. S., & Lee, J. H. (2006). Time well spent? Relating television use to children’s free-time activities. Pediatrics, 117(2), 181-191. 
43. Weicha, J. L., Peterson, K. E., Ludwig, D. S., et al. (2006). When children eat what they watch: Impact of television viewing on dietary intake in youth. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 60, 436-442. Retrieved on February 7, 2012 from  
44. Weinstein, A.M.  (2010). Computer and video game addiction: A comparison between game users and non-game users. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 36(5), 268-276. 
45. Woodruff, S. J., et al. (2010). Healthy eating index-C is positively associated with family dinner frequency among students in grades 6-8 from Southern Ontario, Canada. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 64 (5), 454-460.