Screen Time & Mental Health


'Screen time' is the time spent using a screen-based device, such as a smartphon, tablet, computer, or television. Screens can be used for educational or work purposes, and also for recreational purposes. Many Canadian children participate in high levels of screen use, which impacts their health.

How screen time impacts children's health:

  • Early development: Higher screen use in the early years is linked to poor brain development, language development and attention skills.
  • Physical health: Higher screen use is linked to lower levels of physical fitness, unhealthy weights, and higher risks of cardio-metabolic disease.
  • Psychosocial health: Higher screen use is linked to behavioural issues, lower self-esteem, and lower psychological well-being.

Screen Time Limit Recommendations

Canadian health experts recommend limiting children's exposure to screens. The recommended limits are:
Infant (0-2 years): 0 hours of screen time per day
Pre-School (2–4 years): 1 hour of screen time per day
School-Age & Adolescents (5–17 years): 2 hours of screen time per day

Mental Health

What's so bad about feeling good?

There is a link between physical activity and mental wellbeing or just feeling good.  These effects include:

  • Stress relief
  • Improved mood
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Improved sleep quality

Sit less and move more: Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth

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    Sweat, step, sit and sleep. Children with higher physical activity levels get better sleep:
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    General Tips for having healthy sleep hygiene:
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    Build Your Best Day:
  4. Screen Time Handout - Background Evidence & Research