How Many Hours of Video Games is too Much?
Back in 2016 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced all new recommendations for children’s media use. For children under 18 months, the recommendation is no use of games apart from chatting with relatives over video chat. For ages 18-24 months, the AAP reported that digital media use should be “high quality” and that an adult should interact with the child while they watch. From ages 2-5 years the recommendation is to limit use to 1 hr per day and to also interact with the child while they watch. For children 6 and older the recommendation is that screen time limits are placed so that it does not interfere with sleep, physical activity, and other behaviors essential to health (homework, family time, exercise, activities, social time etc.).
Although many people may find these guidelines vague, it allows for the increasing role that technology plays in the lives of youth. Homework may require the use of a computer, for example. There is a lot of leeway given to parents in regards to how much time to allow kids to play video games because the risk of addiction or problems really depends on the child. Time for video games should come very last, after all the important activities are done around the home such as homework, chores, meal time, outdoor time, exercise and music. Older teens who get home from school at 3 pm and play video games until dinner and then play again after dinner are playing too much. Kids who require 2-3 hours of homework, but, don’t have enough time to finish homework and then sleep the recommended 9-10 hrs per night because of video games may have a problem.