|Why stay in? Run on a rainy day!|
From Commercial-Free Childhood.org
Kids and Screens
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children
under 2 and less than 2 hours per day for older children.
Excessive screen time puts young children at risk
• Screen time can be habit-forming: the more
time children engage with screens, the harder time
they have turning them off as older children.4
• Screen time for children under 3 is linked to
irregular sleep patterns5 and delayed language acquisition.6
• The more time preschool children and babies
spend with screens, the less time they spend inter-
acting with their parents.7 Even when parents co-
view, they spend less time talking to their children
than when they’re engaged in other activities.8
• Toddler screen time is also associated with
problems in later childhood, including lower
math and school achievement, reduced physical activity, victimization by classmates,9 and in-
• Direct exposure to TV and overall household
viewing are associated with increased early child-
• The more time preschool children spend with
screens, the less time they spend engaged in creative play7 – the foundation of learning,12 constructive problem solving,13 and creativity.14
• On average, preschool children see nearly
25,000 television commercials, a figure that does
not include product placement.15
School-age children are also
at risk from excessive screen time
• Including multitasking, children ages 8-18
spend an average of 4 1⁄2 hours per day watching
television, 1 1⁄2 hours using computers, and more
than an hour playing video games.16
• Black and Hispanic youth spend even more
time with screen media than their white peers.16
• Time spent with screens is associated with:
– sleep disturbances18
– childhood obesity17
children spend 32 hours a
week with screen media.1
– attention span issues19
• Children with 2 or more hours of daily screen
time are more likely to have increased psycho-
logical difficulties, including hyperactivity, emotional and conduct problems, as well as difficulties with peers.20
1. Why Screen-Free Week?
• Especially high rates of bedroom televisions
(70-74%) have been seen among racial/ethnic minority children aged 2 to 13 years.24
In a survey of youth ages 8-18,nearly 1 in 4 said they felt“addicted” to video games.25
• Adolescents who watch 3 or more hours of television daily are at especially high risk for poor homework completion, negative attitudes
toward school, poor grades, and long-term academic failure.21
• Adolescents with a television in their bedroom spend more time watching TV and report less physical activity, less healthy dietary habits, worse
school performance, and fewer family meals.22
• Children with a television in their bedroom are more likely to be overweight.23
Research shows the benefits of reduced screen time.
• Reducing screen time can help prevent childhood obesity.26
• Children who spend less time watching television in early years tend to do better in school, have a healthier diet, be more physically active, and are
better able to engage in schoolwork in later elementary school.9
• Television viewing at a young age is associated with later behavioral problems, but not if heavy viewing is discontinued before age six.27
• Limiting exposure to television during the first 4 years of life may decrease children’s interest in it in later years.4
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents create
an electronic-media-free environment in children’s bedrooms.
1. The Nielsen Company (2009). TV viewing among kids at an eight-year high. Retrieved July 19, 2010 from http://blog.nielsen.com/
2. Zimmerman, F., Christakis, D., Meltzoff, A. (2007). Television and DVD/video viewing in children younger than 2 years. Archives of
Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 161(5), 473-479.
3. Rideout, V. & Hamel, E. (2006) The Media Family: Electronic media in the lives of infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their parents.
Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation p. 18
4. Christakis, D., Zimmerman, F. (2006). Early television viewing is associated with protesting turning off the television at age 6.
Medscape General Medicine, 8(2), 63.
5. Thompson, D. A., Christakis, D. (2005). The association between television viewing and irregular sleep schedules among children
less than 3 years of age. Pediatrics, 116(10), 851-856.
6. Chonchaiya, W., Pruksananonda, C. (2008). Television viewing associates with delayed language development. Acta Paediatrica.
7. Vandewater, E. A., Bickham, D. S., Lee, J. H. (2006). Time well spent? Relating television use to children’s free-time activities.
Pediatrics 117(2), 181-191.
8. Courage, M., Murphy, A., Goulding, S., Setliff, A. (2010). When the television is on: The impact of infant-directed video on 6- and 18-
month-olds’ attention during toy play and on parent-infant interaction. Infant Behavior & Development, 33,176-188.
References continue on next page
Presented by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
1. Why Screen-Free Week?
9. Pagani, L., Fitzpatrick,C., Barnett, T. A., & Dubow, E. (2010). Prospective associations between early childhood television exposure
and academic, psychosocial, and physical well-being by middle childhood. Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, 164(5),
0. Landhuis, E. C., Poulton, R., Welch, D., & Hancox R. J. (2008). Programming obesity and poor fitness: The long-term impact of
childhood television. Obesity, 16(6), 1457-1459.
1. Manganello, J.A., Taylor, C.A. (2009).Television exposure as a risk factor for aggressive behavior among 3 year-old children.
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 163(11), 1037-1045.
2. Coolahan, K., Fantuzzo, J., Mendez, J., & McDermott, P. (2000). Preschool peer interactions and readiness to learn: Relationships
between classroom peer play and learning behaviors and conduct. Journal of Education Psychology, 92(n3), 458–465.
3. Wyver, S. R. & Spence, S. H. (1999). Play and divergent problem solving: Evidence supporting a reciprocal relationship. Early
Education and Development, 10(4), 419–444.
4. Moore, M. & Russ, S. W. (2008). Follow-up of a pretend play intervention: Effects on play, creativity, and emotional processes in
children. Creativity Research Journal, 20(4), 427-436.
5. Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Economics Staff Report. (2007, June 1). Children’s Exposure to TV Advertising in 1977 and
2004. Holt, D.J, Ippolito, P.M., Desrochers, D.M. & Kelley, C.R. p. 9.
6. Rideout, V. J., Foehr, U. G., Roberts, D. F. (2010). Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds. Kaiser Family Foundation.
7. Danner, FW. A national longitudinal study of the association between hours of TV viewing and the trajectory of BMI growth among
US children. (2008). Journal of Pediatric Psychology. 33(10), 1100-1107.
8. Paavonen EJ, Pennonen M, Roine M, Valkonen S, Lahikainen AR. (2006). TV exposure associated with sleep disturbances in 5- to
6-year-old children. Journal of Sleep Research, 15, 154-61.
9. Swing, E.L, Gentile, D.A., Anderson, C.A., Walsh, D.A. (2010). Television and video game exposure and the development of
attention problems. Pediatrics. 126(2), 214-221.
0. Page, A.S., Cooper, A.R., Griew, P., Jago, R. (2010). Children’s screen viewing is related to psychological difficulties irrespective of
physical activity. Pediatrics. 126(5), 1011-1017.
1. Johnson, J., Brook, J., Cohen, P., Kasen, S. (2007). Extensive television viewing and the development of attention and learning
difficulties during adolescence. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 161(5), 480-486.
2. Barr-Anderson, D.J., van den Berg, P., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Story, M. (2008). Characteristics associated with older adolescents
who have a television in their bedrooms. Pediatrics, 121(4), 718-724.
3. Adachi-Mejia AM, Longacre MR, Gibson JJ, Beach ML, Titus-Ernstoff LT, Dalton MA (2007). Children with a TV in their bedroom at
higher risk for being overweight. Int J Obes (Lond). 31(4), 644 –651.
4. Taveras, E.M., Hohman, K.H., Price, S, Gortmaker, S.L., Sonneville, K. (2009). Televisions in the bedrooms of racial/ethnic minority
children: How did they get there and how do we get them out? Clinical Pediatrics, 48(7), 715-719.
5. Harris Interactive (2007). Video Game Addiction: Is it real? Retrieved October 1, 2010 from http://www.harrisinteractive.com/NEWS/
6. Epstein LH, Roemmich JN, Robinson JL, Paluch RA, Winiewicz DD, Fuerch JH, Robinson TN. (2008). A randomized trial of the
effects of reducing television viewing and computer use on body mass index in young children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med.
7. Mistry KB, Minkovitz CS, Strobino, DM, Borzekowski, DLG. (2007). Children’s television exposure and behavioral and social
outcomes at 5.5 years: Does timing of exposure matter?