Taming the Digital Beast: A Guide for Parents to Curb Excessive Screentime in Children

In the digital age, managing screen time for kids has become a critical concern for parents. Our children are growing up with screens at their fingertips. These devices serve as powerful tools for education and communication, but excessive use can be a double-edged sword.

Overuse of digital devices can lead to postural stress, impacting children’s health, development, and brain function.

We find ourselves in uncharted territory as parents, teachers, and healthcare providers. How do we navigate this digital landscape to ensure our children’s well-being? The answer lies in striking a balance. 

Here we provide insights and solutions to help you effectively manage your child’s screen time. We explore the importance of promoting good posture, encouraging physical activity, and fostering face-to-face interactions. Our dental team at SHDC believe in a holistic approach to children’s health, ensuring an equilibrium between digital activities and other vital aspects of their lives.

These solutions will support you in understanding how excessive screen time can affect your child’s oral, general, and mental health.

I am fascinated by how our amazing body works and our body’s ability to regenerate and repair itself, provided the right ingredients are provided to support good health
~ Dr Yin Yin Teoh

Join us as we embark on this journey to tame the digital beast and create a healthier, more balanced lifestyle for our children. And remember, these solutions apply to adolescents and adults too; we all deserve to enjoy well-being and happiness.

A Guide for Parents on Managing Screentime for Kids

A Parent’s Guide to Support Children’s Health in the Digital Age

Various strategies can be explored and implemented to reduce postural stress in children and adolescents exposed to excessive screen time.

Create a Balanced Schedule

One effective strategy for managing screen time for kids is by creating a balanced schedule that includes ample breaks from screens. Encourage your child to engage in other activities such as physical exercise, hobbies, or socialising with friends. This supports better posture and also improves general health.

Promote Physical Activity

Incorporating regular physical activity into your child’s routine can help counteract the negative effects of excessive screen time. Encourage your child to partake in physical activities that help build strength, enhance flexibility, and boost overall health. Yoga may also be a great option to help with posture and reduce stress levels in kids. Reference.

Physical Activity Guidelines by Age


Under 12 months

1 to 2 years

3 to 5 years

5 to 17 years

Physical activity

Interactive floor-based play, and at least 30 minutes of tummy time for babies per day.


At least 3 hours of energetic play per day.

At least 3 hours per day, with 1 hour being energetic play.

At least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous activity involving mainly aerobic activities per day.

Vigorous activities should be incorporated at least 3 days per week.

Several hours of light activities per day.





At least 3 days a week.

Sedentary time

Do not restrain for more than 1 hour at a time.

Do not restrain for more than 1 hour at a time.

Do not restrain for more than 1 hour at a time.

Minimise and break up long periods of sitting.

Sedentary recreational screen time


Under 2 years: None.

2 years: No more than 1 hour per day.

No more than 1 hour per day.

No more than 2 hours per day.

Ergonomic Setup

Ensure your child’s ergonomically designed workspace can significantly reduce postural stress risk. Invest in an adjustable chair and desk so they can maintain proper alignment while using their devices. Encourage them to use laptops at eye level or consider investing in a tablet stand for improved comfort.

  • Limit Screentime: Set limits on daily screen usage to ensure your child does not exceed healthy levels of exposure. No more than two hours per day for children six years and older is ideal.
  • Frequent Breaks: Encourage regular breaks during extended periods of device usage – ideally every 20 minutes – where they should stretch, walk around or do some light exercises to alleviate any strain caused by prolonged sitting.
  • Posture Awareness: Teach your child the importance of maintaining good posture while using their devices. This includes sitting up straight, keeping feet flat on the floor, and positioning screens at eye level.
  • Ergonomic Positioning: Encourage children to maintain a neutral spine when using mobile devices by holding screens at eye level instead of looking down at them. This helps prevent FHP and rounded shoulders.

Sufficient Sleep 

Sleep is the most important part of the day. It is foundational for optimal health, providing the physical, mental and emotional energy required to get through the day. While 7-9 hours of good quality sleep is required for adults, children and adolescents need a lot more. Ensure your child is getting the right amount of sleep for their age.

Age Group Age Range Recommended Sleep Time
Toddlers 1-2 years 11-14 hours (including naps)
Pre-schoolers 3-5 years 10-13 hours (including naps)
Grade-schoolers 6-12 years 9-11 hours
Teens 13-18 years 8-10 hours

A critical part of managing screentime for kids is supporting good quality sleep and encouraging proper sleep hygiene. This includes no screens at least 1 hour before bedtime and ensuring dinner is served at least 2 hours prior. It’s also important to create a sleeping environment that is conducive to good quality sleep, with the right temperature, no audible noise, and free from household toxins.

Encourage Nasal Breathing 

The way you breathe at night also affects your sleep quality. Mouth breathing is common in children, yet it can be harmful to their physical development as it shifts facial structures and can lead to dental stress, such as overcrowding of the mouth and crooked teeth. It can also increase dental decay by drying your mouth. If you suspect mouth breathing at night, talk to your dentist about options to support and encourage nasal breathing. 

A Whole Food Diet is the Best 

A whole food diet that includes complete sources of protein, vegetables, seasonal fruit, and healthy fats and is free from ultra-processed foods and excessive sugar will provide children with the sufficient fuel they need to flourish. 

Similar to the dopamine rush experienced during excessive screen time, sugar can have a similar effect on the brain. Excessive sugar is also linked to developmental disorders, obesity and dental cavities in children. 

Focus On Good Health Habits Every Day

By incorporating these strategies into daily routines and being mindful of potential risks associated with excessive screen usage, parents and professionals can help children maintain proper posture and prevent long-term physical problems from developing.


Read our introductory article: Screentime Overload: How Excessive Screentime Use by Children is Causing Postural Stress


References and Resources

  1. Growing up Digital Australia 
    This research by the Gonski Institute of Education (UNSW) provides an overview of the impact of digital technology on Australian children.
  2. Screen time effects and guidelines for children and young people
    Australian Institute of Family Studies
    Physical activity and exercise guidelines for all Australians
  3. Physical activity and exercise guidelines 
    The Department of Health website provides 24-hour movement guidelines for all ages.
  4. Parenting today in Victoria. Melbourne and Sydney: Parenting Research Centre.
    Parenting Research Centre. (2019). 
  5. Early childhood electronic media use as a predictor of poorer well-being.
    JAMA Pediatrics, 168(5), 485. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.94