How Much Screen Time is Too Much?

child on a phone

As a company that sells wooden letter blocks, toys, puzzles, and personalized name stools, it should be obvious that we value children’s toys and activities that allow them to interact in the real world. While technology is ubiquitous these days and, frankly, essential to the way we live, there is such a thing as too much screen time for children. On the one hand, they need a certain amount of technological literacy—they can’t be the only kids in kindergarten who have never seen an iPad—but the science shows how overexposing kids to screens actually can be detrimental to their development. 

Obviously, no parent wants that for their kids. 

Too Much Screen Time Negatively Impacts Children’s Brains

According to Dr. Aric Sigman, an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of Britain’s Royal Society of Medicine, too much screen time can permanently damage children’s brains at a very early age.

“The ability to focus, to concentrate, to lend attention, to sense other people’s attitudes and communicate with them, to build a large vocabulary—all those abilities are harmed,” Sigman said in an article published by Psychology Today.

In other words, even those parents exposing their children to excessive technology with an eye toward giving them an educational advantage could be doing them harm. Parents exposing their children to too much screen time because it’s the easiest way to keep them occupied could be facing the same realities.

Screens Affect Eyesight, Too

Even adults can get headaches if they’ve been in front of a computer all day, so the same will also be true for children. The Vision Council published a report showing that 30 percent of parents report their children experience headaches, eye strain, or irritated eyes after being exposed to more than two hours of screen time per day. Taking just 30 percent of 74 million American children means over 22 million of them are experiencing these symptoms, all because they are spending too much time in front of a screen.

What’s the Alternative?

On the one hand, children really do need to spend some time with computers and tablets to fully appreciate and interact with the modern world. Despite that, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that toddlers and young children watch no more than one hour of quality educational programming per day. They also recommend that children 18 months and younger use screens only for occasional video chatting.

With the rest of their days, children should play outside, interact with other children, or play with physical toys—precisely like those we sell here at Hollow Woodworks. In this way, their brains can flourish, their eyesight can remain unaffected, and they can learn how to imagine and think critically and grow.

We don’t live in a technology-free world, so expecting children to avoid technology completely would be silly. However, expecting children live their lives away from screens has been scientifically proven to be the best thing for them. Hollow Woodworks is happy to provide the toys that allow them to do that in a way that is both enjoyable and educational.