16 answers

How Much Time Should a 5 Year Old Be on the Computer Each Day?

I am wondering how much time is acceptable for a 5 year old to be on the computer each day? Also, how much time is too much? My son loves playing games on the computer and we allow it but are wondering if being on too much can hurt his eyesight or cause headaches? We feel we need to set boundries in this area and seek advice on what is healthy/fair.

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My husband and I both work with computers. We view it like this. As our son grows and goes through school, collage and then work, he's got a life time to spend sitting in front of a computer. He's got a limited time to be a child, run outside and play. They get sedentary so fast once they are in the habit of sitting still. He's 11 now, and we only let him play computer games 1 hour a week. My Mom used to have us go out and play in all kinds of weather. Snow suits/boots for winter. Rain coats/boots for spring and fall. Bug spray and sun screen for summer. Even when there is nothing to do, it's amazing how creative a child can be with a few rocks, bricks, some sticks and pine cones and a sand box. And the playing just happens. It's good for them.

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My girlfriend makes her kids buy computer game time with reading time. If they want to play 20 minutes on the computer, they have to read for 20 minutes first... I thought the idea was brilliant because it really limits the computer to a manageable amount and encourages her kids to read.

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Regardless of what the manufacturing companies want you to believe, the use of computer is a limitation for developing human brain. so to answer the question about time - he can use it for as long as you think it is OK for his brain to get no useful information.
Good Luck

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I have two boys ages 13 & 7, they do not watch t.v, play games, or computer all week. If they behave they may play on the weekends. It's difficult at first (especially for us parents!) but we've been doing this for several years and it works. They come home and do homework go to basketball practice and read. That's all we have time for. When they watched t.v during the week, I had to bug and yell at them to turn it off. Now there is no arguing because they are used to it. We have more conversations also. Sometimes if we have alot of time on our hands and we are ready for bed with 1 1/2-2 hrs to spare. we'll watch a family movie. They were playing alot during the weekend so I will probably limit it to 2 hrs a day. I feel all t.v. and games do is stop the kids from reading and exploring and it cuts our family time. Hope this helps.

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I also have a five year old, and he only uses the computer for educational games which were provided by his kindergarten. We always do reading, handwriting, math, playtime or crafts at home before allowing any computer time. He gets at maximum, about 30 minutes computer time per day. And we don't allow internet access at all.

Hope you find a solution for your child.

1 mom found this helpful

Depends on the kid, IMO.

For my ds7, he uses the computer for school and silly time (we homeschool). Silly time is limited - 1/2 an hour to an hour-, school time *typically* isn't. On average, including school movies with lunch, he's on the computer about 3-4 hours a day.

Like another poster said, it's a good balance for us. He's a SUPER active kid. We have gymnastics twice a week, all day snowboarding 2 days a week for 5-7 hours of actual sliding down the mountain, basketball 2 days a week, and that's all in addition to going on daily hour long run/walks with our Lab, daily park time, and all sorts of age appropriate "wish I could bottle that energy" running around the house/ yard/ skating/ chasing the dog/ imaginary wars/ playdates/ chores done/ etc... In the summer, of course, snowboarding gets switched for beach time... and we're typically in the water at least 4 hours a day.

So for us it works. It's a tremendous educational tool for us, as well as some WELL needed downtime... We're an ADHD household. (As an example of an educational tool: Kiddo also taught himself to read using starfall.com by 3... aka, started when he was 2.5 He was on starfall for around an hour every day, and it was the ONLY time he was still. 2 birds with one stone, imo).

He's lost all "electronics time" from time to time for snarky attitude/misbehavior/etc relating to the computer... we have a gradual system, 24 hours, 1 week, 1 month.

1 mom found this helpful

I think a lot depends on how active your children are and what they are doing online. Our girls are 4 and 8. Our 8 yr old spends more time on computer and WII then 4 yr old. Also, our girls are very active, they love to play outside, jump on trampoline, run and ride scooters. Thet also love pretend play abd board games. When they do get computer time, it is often educational in somw way. They do get non-educational play time on computer but usually only a couple times a week ranging about an hour...2 max. Our girls dont even get on computer every day...when they do get on, it's 2 hours max.

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The suggested time for all media (t.v. computer video games, etc.) is 1 hour per day...that's what a child psychiatrist told me yesterday :)

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