Consumer Reports: Limit your kids' screen time

A recently published study found that 18 percent of 9 to 10 year olds who spent more than 3 hours a day on screens could be at higher risk of type 2 diabetes. (Photo credit: MGN Online/Jhaymesisviphotography / CC BY 2.0 )

You've heard it before: Parents should set limits on how much time their kids spend in front of screens. But what looks like harmless fun could be dangerous. A recently published study found that 18 percent of 9- to 10-year-olds who spent more than three hours a day on screens could be at higher risk of Type 2 diabetes.

And Consumer Reports said it may make sense. Kids are more likely to snack mindlessly when they're in front of a screen than they are when they're outside or exercising. And it doesn't help that screen time is often accompanied by junk-food ads.

So, how do you get your kids not to spend so much time in front of TV or on devices? Remember the old saying monkey see monkey do? Well, if you're doing it, it's likely your kids are, too. So, first, set limits on your own screen time. Then set limits for them - and stick to them! Some good techniques:

  • During dinner, force all family members to put devices away and turn off the TV.
  • Only allow screens in certain rooms, like the family room.
  • And use routers like Google WiFi and Eero, which have apps you can use to block access during certain times of day.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also has a Media Time Calculator, which can help determine age appropriate limits for your child.

But, perhaps, the best way to cut back on screen time - get your kids outside and into sports, like biking, walking - or just throwing a ball around.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit

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