A new study in the journal "Pediatrics" shows many parents don't have a good grasp on how much time their children are spending on devices, like smartphones and iPads.
Researchers used an app to track the actual time children ages 3 to 5 years old used devices and compared it to their parents’ estimates. They found the average screen time was just under 2 hours - 115 minutes a day. About 35% of parents underestimated how much screen time their child was getting, while about 34% overestimated their kid's time.
"These are kids that you should really have a sense of what they're doing," according to Dr. Corinn Cross, a spokesperson with the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Cross says parents should consider where in the home kids are allowed to be on devices and keep them in areas where they can be monitored.
She also points out that the study was conducted before the coronavirus pandemic, which has only increased screen time for many children having to attend school remotely. "What I plan to do, and what I advise parents to do, is to take this sort of natural transition from school to summer and say okay, we're gonna take a little bit of a break," Dr. Cross says.
Experts say parents should make sure they're monitoring not only the time spent on devices, but they should also monitor what their kids are watching and steer them towards educational content.
For children two to five years old, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen use to no more than one hour per day of high quality programming.