NZers adopt limits to children's screen time

NZers adopt limits to children's screen time

It's a modern-day parenting nightmare - how much screen time is too much?

It seems the age at which a child is swiping and scrolling is getting younger.

Now, American doctors have put out new advice on how long - or little - kids should spend in front of a screen.

On a sunny day, there's little excuse for children being stuck to their screens. But this is a digital age, and they are now part of everyday life - a part more and more parents are trying to control.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has just issued new recommendations around how much time children should spend watching TV and tablets.

It says for those younger than 18 months, there should be no screen time. Ages two to five - up to one hour a day, and only educational programmes. And once the kids are older than six, parents should decide.

"Media use cannot displace sleep; it can't displace physical play; it can't displace family meals and social interaction," says Dr Corrine Cross. "Those are really the jobs, if you will, of a young child, and they need to do those before they're using media."

Our Ministry of Health has similar recommendations. It also believes those aged five to 18 should spend less than two hours a day - that's not including school hours in front of the TV and computer.

Children under two years should have no screen time. For older children, screen time should be limited to less than an hour a day, although less is better.

Children under five should have a daily maximum of one hour screen time, and no screen time at all for infants and toddlers.

Monique Sefuiva is mum to four-year-old Ezra. While he's on a device most days, the time is generally limited to an hour, as per the recommendations for his age.

"If Ezra asks for it throughout the day I have a huge problem with that," she says. "We sort of say, 'No, listen - we're going to play. We're going to get on the tramp. We're going to have fun together as a family.'"

She says she wants his childhood to be more like hers - a little more traditional