From our phones to tablets to TVs, it's hard to escape screens these days whether it's ourselves or our kids. 

Scrolling on TikTok, posting on BeReal and liking their friends' Instagram posts - there is an entire (and very addictive) world online.

Typically children between the ages of 5-17 spend over 6 hours in front of a screen per day.

A statistic which likely will not surprise you when you consider the increasingly digital world that we live in.

Wandsworth Times: Screen time becomes unhealthy when it starts to replace things that are beneficial for the growth of children, like outdoor play ( Getty Images)Screen time becomes unhealthy when it starts to replace things that are beneficial for the growth of children, like outdoor play ( Getty Images) (Image: Getty Images)

But did you know - it's actually three times the recommended amount?

“Screen time becomes unhealthy when it starts to replace things that are beneficial for the growth of children, like outdoor play," according to the team at Outdoor Toys.

"Playing outdoors is key for a child's growth and development. Many physical benefits come with being active, such as developing essential motor skills like coordination, agility, and balance.

"Parents should take into consideration the benefits that being outside has for children, and make sure that screen time is not replacing this element.”

Here's everything you need to know from how screens affect your kids to what the NHS has to say as well as some tips to help reduce your (and their) time online.

How does screen time affect kids?

Excessive screen time can have detrimental effects on your children, according to the experts.

The team adds: "It can discourage physical activities and outdoor play, both of which are essential for a child's development, and also can interfere with sleep patterns and affect their growth. 

"Spending too much time on screens can also limit face-to-face social interactions and hinder social and emotional development, and some studies have even indicated a connection between high screen time and behavioural problems in children."

What does the NHS say about screen time?

The NHS says that we should introduce limits on screen time because "children learn best from real life experiences and interaction."

The health experts add that "time spent in front of a screen is time not spent interacting with those around them.

"Evidence shows that although from 15 months, children may copy actions or words from TV, they are not actively able to learn language from TV until they are around 2½ years old."

The NHS recommends some screen-free days but also limiting screen time to two hours a day when this is not possible.

For more information, see the NHS's guidance here.

How to reduce your child's screen time

Here are six tips that you can follow to help you reduce your child's screen time, according to the team at Outdoor Toys.

1. Start early

The earlier in your child's life you start to limit screen time, the better. Establishing these limits from the beginning instils healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

2. Reduce your own screen time

By reducing your own screen time, not only do you set an example for your kids to follow, but you also create a more harmonious family environment and you demonstrate your commitment to the rules you set for your children.

This collaborative approach makes it easier for kids to accept and adapt to screen time rules.

3. Set realistic goals

Set achievable goals when working to reduce your kids' screen use. Unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and resistance.

By breaking down the process into manageable steps and gradually decreasing screen time, you can make the transition smoother and less stressful for your children.

4. Be consistent

Maintaining a consistent routine and setting clear boundaries creates predictability and a sense of security for your kids.

They know what to expect, making it easier to accept and adapt to the changes. Consistency also reinforces the message that screen time limits are essential for their well-being.


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5. Create phone-free zones

Creating designated phone-free spaces, whether at the dinner table, in bedrooms, or during specific activities, creates opportunities for focused, uninterrupted time for the whole family - and it provides everyone in your house a much-needed break from the constant pull of screens!

6. Encourage outdoor play

Even during winter, you can utilise the daylight and take your children to the park if it snows, or build a play area in their garden using playing equipment.