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 1–17 years were asked how many hours children spent watching TV or videos on weekdays. Overall, more than half of children watched TV or videos for more than 1 hour per weekday; this percentage did not vary by location.

Older children were more likely than younger children to watch TV or videos for more than 1 hour per weekday. In general, the percentage of children within each age group who had more than an hour of screen time per day did not vary by location, except among children aged 6–11 years. In that age group, those in large rural areas were more likely than those in urban areas to have more than an hour of screen time per day (53.6 versus 48.8 percent, respectively).

In general, children with higher household incomes were less likely to watch more than an hour of TV or videos a day. However, this difference was smallest in small rural areas, where the percentage of children with more than an hour of screen time a day ranged from 55.9 percent among children with household incomes below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 46.7 percent among those with incomes of 400 percent or more of the FPL. In urban areas, by contrast, only 41.9 percent of children with household incomes of 400 percent or more of the FPL watched more than an hour of TV or videos a day, compared to 59.2 percent of those with household incomes of less than 100 percent of the FPL. In general, within each income group, there were few significant differences by location in the percentage of children with more than an hour of screen time per day.

Back to Top ↑