Screen Time

The Bright Futures guidelines for infants, children, and adolescents recommend that parents limit children’s screen time to no more than 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 7.4 percent of children aged 1-5 years did not watch any TV or videos, while 43.3 percent watched 1 hour or less per weekday, and 49.2 percent watched for more than 1 hour per weekday. Among school-aged children (aged 6-11 years), the proportions are similar, but among adolescents, more than half (56.4 percent) watched more than an hour of TV or videos per day.

Children aged 1-5 years in households with incomes below the Federal poverty level (FPL) were most likely to have watched more than 1 hour of TV or videos per day (56.1 percent). Among children with household incomes between 100 and 199 percent of the FPL, 53.2 percent watched more than 1 hour of TV per day, as did 50.2 percent of children in households with incomes between 200 and 399 percent of the FPL and 37.6 percent of those with household incomes of 400 percent or more of the FPL watched more than 1 hour per weekday.

Bright Futures guidelines also recommend that children of all ages not have a TV in their bedroom. Among children aged 6-17 years, 55.9 percent were reported to have a TV in their bedroom. Children aged 6-17 years in lower-income households were more likely to have a TV in their room than those in higher-income households. Among children aged 6-17 years with household incomes below the FPL, 58.8 percent had a TV in their bedroom, while 60.1 percent of those with incomes between 100 and 199 percent of FPL and 55.5 percent of those with incomes between 200 and 399 percent of FPL had a TV in their bedroom. Children whose household incomes were 400 percent or more of FPL were least likely to have a TV in their bedroom (51.1 percent).