Experts say screen time limits are out of date and need to be changed.

Department of Health suggests two hours is the daily limit for screen time in the 5 to 17 year age group.

An  recent online poll of 18,000 children by ABC children’s program Behind the News found that 56 per cent exceed that two-hour daily limit.

Sydney child technology expert Dr Joanne Orlando says the are out of date in this digital age, reports news.com.au.

“The problem is, the guidelines were developed in the 1990s so they’re pretty old, and they were developed in response to kids watching TV, in particular violent stuff,” she told AAP.

“But the ways kids interact with screens now is very different … it’s much more interactive and creative and there are many more things they can do.”

“It makes us all feel bad because the guidelines aren’t up to date and the kids are spending all this time on technology and the parents and educators are just not sure what to think or what to do.”

“It’s very unrealistic for children up to 18 years to only spend two hours per day on screens, particularly when school work obliges them to do that or more,” she said.

She recommended parents limit screen time based on the quality of the activity and the level of stimulation.

“If they’re spending most of the time at home using their screen, that’s too much, it’s the main activity,” Dr Orlando said.

The survey found children are using tablets more than computers and phones, and boys are more screen dependant than girls.

When they’re plugged in, children are playing games, watching movies and online videos, going on social media and doing homework.


* 8yrs: 4.2 hours

* 9yrs: 3.4

* 10yrs:3.4

* 11 yrs: 3.6

* 12 yrs: 3.9

* 13 yrs: 4.7

* 14 yrs: 5.4

* 15 yrs: 6

* 16 yrs or more: 7.4


* Tablet: 30pct

* Computer: 22pct

* TV: 20pct

* Phone: 16pct

* Gaming console: 13pct

(Source: Behind the News, ABC TV)

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  • Something for us to use to make sure our kids aren’t spending too much time. Thanks


  • It makes sense that it’s the quality of the interaction too. I didn’t realise the guidelines were from the 1990s!


  • my kids spend too much time, but its the only way I can get things done


  • Think I agree, my 11 year old loves to do beautiful drawings on the computer and gives loomband tutorials.


  • It’s the way society is now, yeah mine watch too much
    Everything in moderation


  • I agree with this article. My 2.5 yr old loves music games


  • My kids all love their screens, unfortunately. Other family members introduced them to games etc and once they had a taste, there was no going back.


  • My 9yr old son is ipad addicted. If i wasnt around, he will play the ipad all day if he wanted to. Problem is that since he was a toddler, he didnt know how to entertain himself. He has legos, carstrucks, tried sport and he has not shown any interest at all but ipad. I have a rule no ipad on mon after school until friday morning. Im having to take myself away and play with my son just the fact of entertaining him but i do enjoy my fun with him. If hes naughty, ipad is the first thing that goes. So far hes on 2 months grounded from his ipad. He has wii u, thats next to be taken off.
    i wish i never gave my son technology the first place.


  • It’s very difficult now because the majority of schooling is done through a computer.
    I have a teenage sister & I can not ever recall her attending a library!
    Everything is done through computers which causes concerns for her eye sight. & what about families that can not afford home internet?
    When I attended High School over 10 years ago our maths class was held in a computer room!


  • My kids had limited screen time at home and they didn’t mind because they were busy outside kinda kids and played a lot outside. In their time tho, screen time was a tv, nothing else


  • I think that although they use computers at school and come home and watch tv or play on a screen for relaxation it is very hard to know how much time they have as you dont know are they infront of the screen all lesson time, or only one lesson during the day. Or use it for reference for 10 minutes in 2 lessons. But it does seem a lot of hours.


  • Maybe an eye specialist should have been consulted by the person who wrote this article. I know a few Mums who have used their TVs as babysitters for a baby instead of on the floor or in a playpen with toys that are good to amuse them. Toys suitable for development skills would be even better. Children are developing eye strain and needing glasses a lot younger than used to be the average. Whe we made enquiries we were advised not to let a baby too close to a TV and only for short times, not for hours. I never needed glasses until I started using a computer.


  • We limit TV, but are more flexible about other things – for example, my 8 and 5 year olds are teaching themselves to type through online modules.


  • Our toddler already seems to be in front of a screen so much of the time. Screens are so much part of everyday life it is difficult to tell a toddler not to use a device when we seem to be in front of or on devices so much of the time. There definitely needs to be a level of leading by example.


  • About time this info was updated!


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