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Bar graph: Children by Location Bar graph: Children by Location and Poverty Status Bar graph: Children by Location and Race/Ethnicity/Language

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Screen Time

The Bright Futures guidelines for infants, children, and adolescents recommend that parents limit children’s screen time to 1-2 hours per day for children aged 1-5 years. Parents of children aged 1-5 years were asked how many hours children spent watching TV or videos on weekdays. Overall, only 7.9 percent of children aged 1-5 years did not watch any TV, while 37.7 percent watched 1 hour or less per weekday, and 54.4 percent watched TV for more than 1 hour per weekday. The percentage of children who watched more than an hour per weekday was highest in large rural areas, where 60.9 percent of children did so.

In general, children with higher household incomes were less likely to watch more than an hour of TV or videos a day. However, this discrepancy was smallest in small rural areas, where the percentage of children aged 1-5 with more than an hour of screen time a day ranged from 49.0 percent among children with household incomes below the Federal poverty level (FPL) to 55.5 percent of children with household incomes of 100 percent to 199 percent of the FPL. In urban areas, by contrast, only 46.0 percent of children with household incomes of 400 percent of the FPL or more watched more than an hour of TV or videos a day, compared to 60.3 percent of those with household incomes of 100 to 199 percent of FPL.

Within most racial and ethnic groups, the percentage of children who watch TV or videos for more than an hour per weekday does not vary by location. One exception is White children, who are more likely to report more than an hour of screen time if they live in large rural areas (58.4 percent) than in urban areas (50.0 percent).

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