Alarming facts about kids and screen time

Canadian kids spend an average of 7.5 hours in front of screens each day*. That’s right, 7.5 hours. That’s about as much time most adults spend at work each day. Sounds outrageous, right? If you agree, you are not alone.

In fact, the response to this statistic is often disbelief. People repeatedly wonder how it is even possible that a child could spend that much time in front of TVs, cell phones, tablets or video games every single day.

However, according to the latest research, it is possible and this is becoming the ‘new norm’ in today’s society. A society where kids as young as 10 years old have a smartphone, where the TV is used as a form of babysitting, and where the tablet has replaced an actual, real-life book.

We know that not every kid is spending 7.5 hours in front of screens a day – but is it possible your kid is?

In ParticipACTION’s new Make Room for Play campaign, we shine a spotlight on how screen time is taking away play time, and ask parents to consider their own family’s screen time habits.  We know that the constant lure of screens is a very real barrier to getting kids the physical activity they need to be happy and healthy. In addition, too much screen time can:

  • Make it hard for a child to sleep at night
  • Raise kid’s risk of attention problems, anxiety, and depression
  • Raise a child’s risk of gaining too much weight
  • Leave less time for active, creative play

If you’re looking for some ideas on how to replace screen time with active time, check out our tips for all ages.

*Source: 2009-11 CHMS, Statistics Canada.  Read more in the Active Healthy Kids Canada 2013 Report Card (pages 32 – 36)