Is two hours of screen time a day a reasonable limit for children?

Jasper Watching Crazy German Kid's Tv Show

Photo by Henry Burrows via Flickr

“Parents who think their children don’t pay attention can take heart. They’re doing their best to emulate your bad TV-watching habits,” writes NPR’s Nancy Shute.

Parents have been told repeatedly that setting rules and banning TVs in children’s bedrooms will help limit TV time. But those much-researched and oft-touted methods don’t seem to matter at all, according to a survey.

The only thing that really mattered was parental screen time. The more parents watched, the more their children watched.

“If the parents watch TV in their free time, the kids are being socialized to watch TV in their free time,” says Amy Bleakley, a senior research scientist at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, who led the study.

That was true whether the parents had set rules limiting TV time or not. It was also true whether or not children had TVs in their rooms. And it was true whether or not the family watched TV together or hunkered down alone in their bedrooms.

Every hour of parental TV-watching led to another 23 minutes of TV watching by offspring.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children’s screen time for all media should be limited to two hours a day, so that children have time for playing, sports and, yes, human interaction.

Today’s Question: Is two hours of screen time a day a reasonable limit for children? How about for you?