How much video game time is ok?

Q: We limit our seven-year-old to one hour of video games a day (no violent games and he has to finish his homework first). But another parent we know is horrified by our rule – she limits her kids to an hour a week. Is an hour a day too much?

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Q: We limit our seven-year-old to one hour of video games a day (no violent games and he has to finish his homework first). But another parent we know is horrified by our rule – she limits her kids to an hour a week. Is an hour a day too much?

A: There are no hard and fast rules about screen time. You’re on the right track by insisting he finish his homework first, and by prohibiting violent games (which can increase aggression in kids). If this arrangement works for you, I say don’t fix what isn’t broken.Talk to him about the games he likes; this way you’ll know what his friends are exposing him to. If he has difficulty focusing or gets obsessive about gaming, it might be time
to cut back.
—Linda Bream, Psychologist

This “Ask an Expert” article first appeared in print in our April 2012 issue in the Little Kid section of Ages and Stages.

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