How Much Screen Time Is Bad for Kids and What Are the Effects on the Body

Whether it’s time spent gaming, binging on a television series, or scrolling aimlessly through social media, the temptation for excessive screen time for kids (and adults) over the school holidays is especially strong!

Whilst technology and screens are a necessary part of daily life, and are becoming more commonly integrated into the classroom, excessive screen time can have significant impacts on your child’s health and well-being.

Can it really be that bad?

  • Numerous studies have shown the strong association between increased screen time independent of physical activity, and developing obesity
  • In Australia, almost 25% of children aged 5-17 years old are overweight or obese
  • Screen time has been shown to increase as children grow older, with studies showing when they reach 12-13 years old, kids are spending up to 30% of their waking time spent in front of a screen!
  • Excessive screen time can negatively affect the time spent participating in physical activity. Not spending enough time engaging in physical activity can have detrimental impacts on the physical and mental development of your child
  • Too much time staring down at devices can also promote prolonged periods of poor posture which can increase the load placed on your child’s growing spine, as well as their neck, shoulder and back muscles. This can result in your child developing headaches, neck pain and back pain.


How much is too much?

  • Recommendations for screen time:
    • 0-2 years old = no screen time recommended
    • 2-5 years old = <1hr per day
    • School aged children = ~2hrs per day, and 30mins of purposeful physical activity daily

Be a positive, active role model in your child’s life and help them fight the lure of excessive screen time and enjoy keeping active, fit and healthy over the rest of the holiday period, or the weekends once they are back at school.

Prevention is better than a cure.

That said, if your child does start to develop any headaches, neck or back issues, it’s possible that it is as a result of screen time and we are able to help with ways to improve them physically. If you notice anything of concern, our strong suggestion would be to come in and see one of our team of physiotherapists at either Precision Physio St Marys or Precision Physio Concord. We can assess your child and provide you with clear and precise advice and guidance on what to do to help, in order to get them living their best life again!

Book an appointment

If you would like to schedule a session with our team and have Precision Physio support you or your children in getting back to a pain free, active lifestyle, you can contact us on 02 8607 4000 or request a call by completing this form.

This blog was written by Sam Dally – Physiotherapist at Precision Physio St Marys. If you would like more information, or to work specifically with Sam, you can contact him through the Precision Physio St Marys clinic: 02 9623 2220 or book in online.

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