How long can children watch TV, play on the computer or use the tablet?

Research shows that the light of smartphone and tablet screens is bad for children’s eyes. Excessive screen time can also slow down their language development. Children who spend a lot of time in front of screens also exercise less and don’t sleep all that well.

With this in mind, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued the following guidelines:

  • Children up to the age of 2: no screen time.

Up to the age of one, children still sleep a lot. If they have older siblings, they might catch some screen time here and there, but that’s not a major issue. Just try not to let your toddler have too much screen time. Ten minutes every now and then is not a big deal.

  • Children aged 2 to 4: maximum 1 hour of screen time a day.

In this age group children still sleep a lot and they need a minimum of 3 hours of exercise a day. A 2-year-old child can play on the tablet or watch some TV, as long as it’s not for too long. The guideline is maximum 1 hour, but preferably less and spread across the day. Try to avoid longer stretches of screen time.


Set an alarm clock. When it rings, tell your child it’s time to switch off the TV or tablet.

Did you know

that it is best not to let children have screen time as soon as they’ve woken up or right before bed time?

When your child has just woken up, their eyes are very sensitive to bright lights. And screen time right before bed will make it harder for them to fall asleep. Also make sure they don’t sit too close to the screen.