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TCP Episode 126 -- Screen Time in the Summer

Jethro Jones and Frederick Lane discuss the debate over appropriate levels of screen time for different age levels and the challenges of regulating screen time in a pandemic.

TCP Episode 126 -- Screen Time in the Summer
Main Beach (Empty), East Hampton, NY (2022)
Table of contents

Listen to this episode on Cybertraps.com, Apple Podcast, or your podcast platform of choice.

Show notes

News Item

  • Screen Time Went Up During the Pandemic
  • “The latest report from Common Sense Media confirms what many of us know intuitively: Entertainment media use grew faster in the last two years than it did in the four years before the pandemic. While many of us didn’t think it was possible to cram more entertainment screen time into our waking hours, we somehow managed to do so in 2021.”


  • What Is Screen Time?
  • We’ve Been Worried about It Since the Introduction of TV
  • Computers Accelerated the Issue (1980s and 1990s)
  • Gaming Devices, Cellphones, and Smartphones Put It All on Steroids

And Then There Was a Pandemic …

  • What Impact Has All of This Had on Your Screen Time?

Latest Studies

  • Common Sense Media Report
    ** Tweens spend an average of 5.5 hours on entertainment media
    ** Teens spend over 8 hours
    ** Social media users are getting younger: 40% of children between 8 and 12 are on social media platforms
    ** Some significant variations based on gender, race, and family income
    ** Lower-income tweens spend as much as 3 hours more each day on entertainment media
  • Smartphone Usage in 2021
    ** 37% of 11-year-olds use a smartphone
    ** 91% of 14-year-olds
    ** You can get a Pinwheel phone for your child to help with screentime management

Screen Time Recommendations by The American Academy of Pediatrics

  • Infants/toddlers, ages 0–2 years: No screen time exposure for infants and toddlers. The only exception: Connecting with loved ones on a screen.
  • Children ages 2–5 years: Up to one hour per day of high-quality screen time.
  • Do not use technology as a babysitter
  • In 2016, researchers found that babies (0–2 years) spend 42 minutes per day on screens, and children (3–4 years) spend two hours 40 minutes per day on screens.
  • Most parents teach their child how to use a touchscreen by age two.
  • Screen time usage per day was too high before the pandemic. It is even higher, now.

Positive Benefits of Non-Screen Play

  • Physical development
  • Brain development
  • Language development
  • Tactile learning
  • Critical-thinking skills
  • Development of imagination
  • Cooperation and conflict resolution

Possible Negative Consequences

  • Physical
    ** Posture and Bone Development
    ** Eyesight
    ** Hearing
  • Psychological
    ** Disconnection
    ** Body image / Dysmorphia
    ** Bullying
    ** Anger and Hostility
    ** Radicalization
    ** Suicidal ideation

Responses and Solutions

  • Above all, balance
  • Focusing on content may be more important than screen time
  • Parents serving as good role models
    ** Distracted parenting is a real phenomenon
  • Delay use of screens as long as possible
  • “Wait Until Eighth” Campaign
  • Create screen-free spaces within the home
  • Separate space for art, crafts, reading, board games, etc.
  • Seek out seratonin
    ** Waldeinsamkeit – the feeling of solitude in the forest
    ** Shinrin-yoku – “forest-bathing”
    ** Friluftsliv – “open-air living”
  • Set essential boundaries to promote:
    ** Sleep
    ** Real-World Activities
    ** Concentration
    ** Connection
    ** Mental Health and Self-Esteem
  • Consistency Is Very Helpful to Both Kids and Adults
  • Help children understand the business model of social media
  • Help children put social media interactions in context
  • Coping with Boredom Is a Life Skill and a Pathway to Creativity


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