Computers are fun and educational. However, children need to find a balance between screen time and other activities and need to be safe from online dangers.

Experts recommend1 hour maximum screen time per day (TV, DVD, computer) for ­children 2-5 years or 2 hours for those over 5.

Children need time interacting with people to develop social and language skills as well as physical activity and creative play.

Practical advice for parents

  • Set clear family guidelines for screen time
  • Keep the computer in a shared or visible place
  • Discuss sites that are OK to explore and those that are not
  • Social networking sites such as Facebook should not be used by children under 13
  • Teach kids to be critical about internet content. Not everything online can be trusted
  • Ensure kids are respectful and do not bully


  • Install filters or parental control software
  • Help them choose strong passwords and know to never share them with friends
  • Teach children about the risks of publishing personal details online (such as name, age, birthday, email or postal address)
  • Teach them about privacy and security ­settings on social media sites and how to block unwanted contacts
  • New friends made online might not be who they say they are. Children should never meet them in the real world without you
  • Monitor online activity. Check ‘bookmarks’, ‘favourites’ or ‘internet history’ in the browser
  • Talk to your child about cyberbullying. Be aware of changes in mood or behaviour which may indicate a child is being bullied,


  • Please note this information was correct at time of publication.
  • For up to date information, speak to your doctor.
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