Boy playing video games

Research shows that too much TV and playing video games can harm your children.

How much is ‘too much’? And what can you do about it?


The truth is surprising:

Research shows that Children do actually benefit from watching TV and playing video games.

It’s part of everyday life and can be a healthy pass time for our kids.

Dr Andrew K. Przybylski, from Oxford University published a report called ‘Electronic Gaming and Psychosocial Adjustment’ on

“Results suggested there are potential benefits for children who engage in low levels of daily game play and downsides for those who play excessively”.


How much time is ‘excessive’?

Most child specialists recommend no more than 2hrs/day for watching TV and playing video games.

This can work. If your kids get home from school at about 4pm and go to bed at 8pm, then 2 hrs playtime would leave 2 hrs free for homework, food and family time. The research seems to agree:

“Results from the current study also showed that children who spend more than half their daily free time [playing video games] showed more negative adjustment. Compared with nonplayers, these players reported higher levels of both externalizing and internalizing problems and lower levels of prosocial behavior and life satisfaction.” Dr Przybylski.

So, about half their free time or 2hrs per schoolday evening seems OK.

Switching it off:

The challenge for us is when ‘game time’ comes to an end. Getting them to switch off can cause conflict.

When our boy is playing ‘Star Wars Battlefront’ on his PS4 one hour seems like 10 mins to him. To be honest, we lose track of time too. So we end up arguing over how long he’s had to play, resorting to counting to 3, threatening to put the Playstation on ebay, all that stuff.

When we do get him off the TV or game, he can be a little moody.

We don’t want that. Neither does he.

The answer?

Let them watch TV and play video games within safe time limits. Children will often accept that playtime has limits. Now we know that up to 2 hrs a day is OK then we have enough information to set a fair limit.


How do you keep track of time?

It’s keeping track of time which causes us the most issues. How long have they been playing? If they spend 23 mins playing a game, has tea, does some homework, watches 39 mins TV, then does 17 mins more gaming. How long is that? Are you standing there with a stop watch?

Our solution:

We created the Off-IT Smart switch.

  • Plug your TV into the Off-IT smart switch then use the app on your phone to set a fair daily time limit for each of your children.
  • When their timer reaches zero, the TV switches off (with a 2 min warning of course).
  • Their timer will automatically pause when the TV is on standby and restart when the TV is turned on.
  • If they unplug the smart switch (first thing ours did) then you get an instant notification.
  • Manually add tablets, phones and laptops if you want to include them in ‘playtime’
  • All you need is your phone and your wireless broadband.

Off-IT works for all TV’s and since video games need a TV, then it also controls all video games (Xbox, Playstation, Wii etc)

Find out more about the Off-IT smart switch here

We want our kids to have fun playing games and watching TV. Off-IT reduces conflict and allows us to set fair and safe play time for our kids bringing a little harmony back to our homes.


References: Andrew K. Przybylski, PhD University of Oxford