My question is:

I'm trying to find current (it's 2017)

  1. Government body recommendations,

  2. Medical/health/science organization recommendations or perhaps studies,

on screen time daily hour use limits for kids in the 10 year age category.

(Please - this QA is not for opinions and comments on "how many hours screen time": I believe there are many good QA on that important issue on the site. I am specifically trying to find the current recommendations (or learn that they do not exist) on the issue.)

Please note that "most authorities" seem to have settled on zero hours for under two years, and "a couple of hours" for under 5 years. I guess that topic also would be for another QA.

Here I'm wanting to find the recommendations and/or findings for "kids" so the preteen, about-10-years set.

Now I've done some basic googling and come up blank. It would seem that surely the "majors" (the EU, WHO, etc) would have an opinion on this.

On the medical research front, surely there are studies on this issue aplenty -

and indeed the reason I'm asking here is it's likely some of the experts on here will have this information at hand.

(Again - please - note that no matter which side of this topical hot-button debate you are on, this is interesting and critical information. For example, you may say: "The EU says that preteens must have no more than four hours of screen time a day - what a bunch of old fogeys, kids can easily handle 10 hours", or, you may say "The EU says that preteens must have no more than four hours of screen time a day - my God, no child should have more than one!" In either case, regardless off your position, it is critical factual information that the "EU's" official guideline is "four hours" in the example.)

  • I can't find a link to it, but I read an interesting metastudy which suggested that that screen time studies are all too strict because they end up with a time lag. The "best" amount of screen time appears to be moving so quickly that the recommendations end up being less valid by the time they are published.
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Oct 2, 2017 at 21:05
  • 2
    There is only the one (excellent) answer below so here's a bounty
    – Fattie
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 11:27
  • Perhaps we can find information from other world regions - asia, europe. Even if it is decisive information (perhaps an article etc) that there are no recommendations. It seems incredible for example that WHO, and the EU, don't have such outputs.
    – Fattie
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 11:28
  • 1
    I'd be surprised if you find any study worthwhile. Young children using screen devices are a fairly new practice so anything you find online would just be recommendations primarily constructed from opinion. You'll find some fancy websites or medical organizations writing their "findings" but these are not factual or at least not properly studied.
    – Malaka
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 18:42

1 Answer 1


Official Recommendations

The American Academy of Pediatrics publishes policy statements on this topic. The most recent recommendations for the age range in question (school-aged children: 5-18yo) are from Oct 2016.

Their recommendations for school-aged children don't included a max recommended number of hours of screen time per day. Instead, they emphasize that use of screens has different risks and benefits depending on what children are doing with screens and in what context. They emphasize the importance of balancing screen activities with more physical activities, and teaching children about the (in)appropriate use of screens (dangers of cyberbullying, sexting, etc.). They also discuss some specific risks to be aware of, such as addictive video game playing.

The whole statement is worth reading, in my opinion, (and it's pretty short), but here are their specific recommendations for families of school aged children:

Develop, consistently follow, and routinely revisit a Family Media Use plan (see the plan from the American Academy of Pediatrics at www.HealthyChildren.org/MediaUsePlan).

Address what type of and how much media are used and what media behaviors are appropriate for each child or teenager, and for parents. Place consistent limits on hours per day of media use as well as types of media used.

Promote that children and adolescents get the recommended amount of daily physical activity (1 hour) and adequate sleep (8–12 hours, depending on age).

Recommend that children not sleep with devices in their bedrooms, including TVs, computers, and smartphones. Avoid exposure to devices or screens for 1 hour before bedtime.

Discourage entertainment media while doing homework.

Designate media-free times together (eg, family dinner) and media-free locations (eg, bedrooms) in homes. Promote activities that are likely to facilitate development and health, including positive parenting activities, such as reading, teaching, talking, and playing together.

Communicate guidelines to other caregivers, such as babysitters or grandparents, so that media rules are followed consistently.

Engage in selecting and co-viewing media with your child, through which your child can use media to learn and be creative, and share these experiences with your family and your community.

Have ongoing communication with children about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline, avoiding cyberbullying and sexting, being wary of online solicitation, and avoiding communications that can compromise personal privacy and safety.

Actively develop a network of trusted adults (eg, aunts, uncles, coaches, etc) who can engage with children through social media and to whom children can turn when they encounter challenges.

Relevant Research

Regarding the other part of your question, asking for research on the topic: You might be surprised about how little is really known for sure. To start, I recommend you check out this short statement summarizing the (lack of) evidence for the AAP guidelines for screen exposure during childhood. The references listed at the end will give you more details about the state of knowledge on this topic.

In particular, there has been some recent attention on the recommendations for children under 2 (which AAP changed last year, citing insufficient evidence for their previous 0-hours recommendation). Children's media --- and everyone else's media, TBH ;) --- has changed rapidly over the last several years, and the scientific knowledge hasn't caught up. Part of this has to do with the difficulty of gathering the necessary evidence (you can't randomly assign children to high and low media exposure homes for obvious ethical reasons; longitudinal research takes years to collect let alone analyze, interpret, and iterate).

That said, there definitely is some research relevant to this question. There are a few posts on this site summarizing some key studies: are there any peer reviewed studies showing the benefits of video games for kids (especially girls)?; What exactly is the problem with the Television?; Any Research on the Effects of Mobile/Cellphone Usage on Childhood Development?

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