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Recommended Amount of Electronic Screen Time for Children

February 1st, 2018 | Eye Health

Parents often ask us about the effects of electronic screens on childrens’ vision. The Canadian Association of Optometrists and the Canadian Ophthalmological Society recently released a joint position statement with recommendations and information on this topic. It is estimated that 50-90% of adult screen users experience ocular symptoms. Unfortunately, this statistic is not known for children, but they are using electronic screens more often and at an earlier age than in the past.


Here are the recommendations for the amount of screen time for children based on their age:

  • 0-2: None, possibility of live video-chatting
  • 2-5: 1 hour per day maximum
  • 5-18: No more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time


Other recommendations:

  • Take breaks after no longer than 60 minutes of screen use (better if it’s after 30 minutes). Examples of breaks are whole body physical activities.
  • When facing a screen, chair heights should be set so that the child’s feet lay flat on the floor. Arm rests on the chair are not recommended unless they fit the child perfectly. Desks should be at elbow height or a little lower. Computer monitors should be placed at eye level and at arm’s length.
  • Do not use screens one hour before bedtime
  • Engage in more outdoor activity
  • Regular eye exams are encouraged because children may or may not complain of symptoms associated with screen use


Click here for more details or to read the full joint position statement. To learn more about computer vision syndrome and digital eye strain, check out these websites:


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