Kids and screen time: How much is too much?

A child uses an iPad. (Pixabay)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Screen time and kids are a hot topic.

Studies show children under age eight spend an average of more than two hours a day using screen media. And 42 percent of kids eight and under have their own tablet. When should parents expose their kids to screens?

One recent study found kids between ages three and five who were exposed to more screen time had poorer expressive language and did worse on tests of language and processing speed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids under two have no screen time. And those between ages two and five, just one hour per day.

If you do decide to let your child have a screen device, load it with educational apps and programs.

For young toddlers, photos of family members or interactive picture books can be helpful tools. Hold your child as they look at the screen and have them describe what they’re seeing.

Turn off all screens during family meals and outings and implement a no-screen rule 30-60 minutes before bedtime. Also, check out parental controls to limit time. M-spy and bark are good apps to help you monitor usage.

The bottom line? Make sure your kids realize it’s better to do things than watch them.

Though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen usage for children younger than two, they do make an exception for video chatting.