This is an important question especially with respect to the increasing number of suicides. Recently, we lost 2 well known, successful, highly accomplished and talented people. With ever increasing usage of screen time of all sorts, we have lost the ability to connect. Our culture is suffering from anxiety and depression along with crippling loneliness and isolation. We “know” hundreds to thousands of “friends” without ever coming face to face. We are experiencing a loss of boundaries where everyone is a winner (all kids get trophies at organized sports); the minority is the majority rule. The age that I currently treat patients for anxiety and depression keep getting younger.
The answer to this question depends on the age and personality of the child. I feel that the younger the child, the less screen time. The more the child clings to the screen, the less he/she should be on it. Screen time is better geared towards learning as opposed to games and socialization. Kids need more face –to- face social time and play time to be kids. They need to learn to interact, communicate and become compassionate human beings. Children need to actively stimulate their creativity and imagination this way as opposed to passively engaging on the screen. Kids need less exposure to the Internet and the adult topics such as drugs, explicit sex and pornography, dangerous games and dares, anger and rage, etc. We are becoming a society of misfits. Some exposure is fine but too much of anything is not good for anyone.
All said and done, adults would benefit from this approach as well.