Young children ages 0-8 are watching less television and other media than they were two years ago, but they are still watching too much. Common Sense Media, a children’s advocacy organization based here in San Francisco, just released a new study on children’s viewing habits, encompassing all forms of media, including television, DVDs, video games, and emerging technologies such as tablets and smartphones. The good news is that overall screen time nationwide decreased from 2:16 to 1:55 hours.



The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children watch no more than 1 to 2 hours of media a day, and children under 2 years not watch at all. The AAP also recommends keeping screens out of children’s bedrooms. The bad news is that despite these recommendations, infants are still watching almost an hour a day, and African American, Latino, and low-income children are spending disproportionately more time in front of screens and are much more likely to have TVs in their bedrooms compared to white and middle- and upper-income families.


In 2009, as part of a citywide school readiness assessment, First 5 San Francisco found that screen time among incoming kindergartners in San Francisco averaged 2:20 hours, higher than AAP guidelines.


More information:

“Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America 2013” from Common Sense Media

“Policy Statement: Children, Adolescents, and the Media” from the American Academy of Pediatrics