Tips to Reduce Screen Time | Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Tips to Reduce Screen Time

Here is a news flash - nobody in your household should be spending more than two (non-school or work-related) hours a day in front of a computer, TV, or video game screen. If they are, they are not getting enough physical activity and human interaction -- and life has got to change.

Most of us may not even realize how much time each day is spent playing video games, watching movies or TV or in front of the computer (particular on the Internet). To know how much time your family is spending in front of a "screen," the We Can project has a screen time log to help you document the hours and help you decide if you need to reduce screen time.

If you do find that the people in your family are spending too much time sedentary, talk to them about the changes needed and include them in the plan to reduce their screen time, and get active. Here are some tips to get you started:
  • Set a Good Example. It will be easier to win cooperation if you are the role model.
  • Make Screen Time = Active Time. Try stretching, lifting weights or doing yoga in front of the TV.
  • Make a Rule and Enforce Time Limits. Limit screen time and enforce it.
  • Create TV-Free Bedrooms. Kids with TVs in their rooms watch 1.5 hours a day more TV.
  • Make Meal Times = Family Time. Turn off all electronics and the TV during meals.
  • Provide Other Options. Start some new habits - activities, hobbies, and ways to spend time together.
There will be resistance - but if you persist - the rewards will be great - more time interacting means better communication, more connection, and less conflict in the family! We all need the time together and this will help you find it.

Photo credit: AMagill
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.