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How to help kids not become "Screen Zombies"

2023 Lingokids youth screen time study

how parents can ensure quality, safe and active screen time for kids

In today’s world, parents and caregivers face increasing concerns about their children's significant exposure to and engagement with screens. To help guide parents on the ideal screen time decisions for their families, Lingokids, the number one learning app for kids, conducted a comprehensive study that dives into screen time habits and trends among children aged 2 to 8 years old. Along with surfacing important data around screen time usage, Lingokids’ study includes advice from leading experts in the fields of education, pediatrics, child psychology, and parenting about how caregivers can help their kids from becoming the dreaded “Screen Zombies” and can ensure their children's screen time is not only safe but also beneficial, healthy, and educational.

Key findings from the study:

  • 1 in 3 parents are worried their child is addicted to screens

  • 55% of children aged between 2 and 8 are exposed to screens for 1-3 hours a day

  • Only 50% of parents are very involved in monitoring and regulating their children's screen time

  • 64.6% of parents believe that they themselves spend too much time in front of a screen

  • 1 in 4 parents considered it appropriate to start using screens for their children when they are 3 years old

  • 63% of kids aged 2-8 spend their screen time playing educational games.

Screen time exposure

Lingokids’ study found that 55% of children aged between 2 and 8 are exposed to screens for 1-3 hours a day. Additionally, 1 in 3 parents surveyed were worried that their child is already addicted to screens. Experts emphasized that screens cannot be avoided entirely in today's world, but the key lies in guiding children on how to use screens effectively. Dr. Michael Rich, Director of the Digital Wellness Lab and Professor at Harvard Medical School, highlighted the importance of not restricting children's screen time but instead encouraging them to use it interactively. 

"There will always be screens in the home environment," noted Michael Rich, M.D., pediatrician, Director of the Digital Wellness Lab and Professor at Harvard Medical School. "Interactive screen time is a language of our time, and it is how we learn, communicate, create and connect with others. The key is not restricting children's screen time, but rather guiding them on how to use it". 

Monitoring and selecting safe screen time options

The study revealed that only 50% of parents are actively involved in monitoring and regulating their children's screen time. Experts believe that parents need to be more vigilant in reviewing what their child is doing on screens, in case children are exploring unrestricted types of screen time on apps like YouTube or TikTok or apps for kids that have advertising.

"Ads aimed at young children often promote unhealthy products. Moreover, they can affect children's critical skills, or collect personal data and track their online behavior," said Fernando Valenzuela, an education expert. 

Dr. Suzanne Barchers, Chair of the Lingokids Education Board, confirmed these risks: "Advertisements for children can be inappropriate and also confusing for them, as they can fall victim to emotional tricks. 

What is quality screen time?

Screen time has become a part of daily life and something that cannot be completely avoided. Therefore, in order to help parents, the study highlighted the importance of “active” screen time, a type of screen time that promotes cognitive development, critical thinking, and socio-emotional skills. 

"Viewing non-quality screen time promotes passivity, empty entertainment and distraction without curiosity. It can also displace other cognitively enriching experiences for children, such as playing with other children, imagining, or exploring nature," explained Dr. Michael Rich of the Boston Children's Hospital Digital Wellness Lab. “Quality screen time is something that challenges, excites curiosity, and asks questions of kids so they interact and stretch themselves, rather than just feeds them pre-digested information.”

Learning apps, such as Lingokids, provide interactive content that promotes that curiosity and motivation making learning fun, dynamic and active, promoting activity off-screen as well. Examples of this include the yoga videos, songs designed to keep you dancing and moving or even games that invite kids to put into practice everyday skills such as brushing their teeth, washing their hands or recycling. 

How to set a good example for children

Parents play a crucial role in setting a good example for their children in terms of screen time usage. 64.6% of parents surveyed believe that they themselves spend too much time in front of a screen. Experts stressed the importance of leading by example and using screens in a way that promotes beneficial content and healthy habits for the whole family. Parents can try to limit their screen time hours, especially when children are around, and when they do engage in screen time, to use their own forms of “active” screen time like puzzles, reading books and articles, or mindfulness videos. 

Key takeaways 

The study concludes that screens can be beneficial for children when used appropriately and interactively. Parents should focus on the content and time limits, using educational apps and videos to encourage learning, curiosity and development. By setting good examples and fostering safe and active screen time, parents can ensure that their children's digital experiences are enriching, while still being fun.

"We believe in the power of educational screen time to nurture children's growth and development," says Regina Ascencio, an educator and neuropsychologist. "Lingokids is designed to provide quality, safe, and interactive content that promotes healthy screen time experiences for young learners."

For more information about the study and Lingokids, please visit

Lingokids is an educational tech and media company that is helping transform the way children can gain traditional educational and modern life skills. Its unique PlaylearningTM approach puts children in the center of the Lingokids universe, which provides thousands of engaging, interactive learning experiences in a variety of mediums and surrounds them with choice and exploratory child-led learning paths.  With a commitment to traditional, educational objectives for preschool through second grade, Lingokids knows today’s child needs engineering and empathy; reading and resilience; math fluency and mindfulness. A captivating cast of original characters seamlessly brings life to each immersive learning adventure and blends play with a modern skills curriculum to engage and motivate kids around the globe. Since launching in 2015, Lingokids has achieved category-leading viewership on YouTube and its portfolio includes the Lingokids app (Voted Best Original Learning App 2023, Kidscreen) trusted by more than 60 million families, Lingokids Studios, Lingokids Podcasts, and Lingokids Music Publishing. 

For more information, please visit and follow @Lingokids.

The Lingokids Screen Time Study was conducted via PollFish in June 2023 with 1800 parents with kids between the ages of 2-8. 

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