How much tv/ipad/ipod/screen time is considered healthy for school aged children? That’s exactly the question that 8 year old Hugh asked Dr. Weiss.

Hugh wrote, “I am having a debate with my parents about the suggested/healthy amount of tv/ipad/ipod screen time that I should have daily.  I feel as though I want more than they allow.  Please send me your thoughts on how many hours of screen time would be appropriate for me.

Here is Dr. Weiss’s answer, along with a few suggestions from Hugh for other children looking for things to do during screen-free time:


Hi Hugh,

Thank you so much for emailing me with your question about how much screen time is appropriate for someone your age.

We always try to give our patients information that is accurate and based on research, not just our opinions.  So here’s what the experts who spend lots of time studying screen time and digital device use say is ok for kids.

Children should spend no more than 2 hours each day using digital devices. That’s because digital devices like tv/ipad/ipods/computers actually affect the way our brains work.  It turns out that kids do better in school, are more rested, and are happier when the amount of time spent with devices is limited.  This is just a short list of the reasons why limiting device use is good for kids (and grown-ups too!).  There are many more.

Since you probably use computers during the day at school, that may leave just a little time for games and tv when you get home.  So instead of using the tv/ipad/ipod/computer and other devices for afterschool and weekend fun…guess what the experts suggest?  They suggest going outside to play, drawing, painting, playing board games, reading, doing puzzles, building things.  What are all the things that you do when you’re not using devices?  It would be great to add your ideas to the ones we already share with other children, so please send me your recommendations.


Dr. Weiss

With many thanks to Hugh for sharing, here are some of his ideas about things to do besides being on a digital device:

Building Legos

Let your dog chase you

Play card games

Take pictures

Go bowling

Play pirates