New Screen Time Recommendations from the AAP

Today’s generation of children will grow up immersed in digital media, including platforms that allow users to both consume and create content, which has both positive and negative effects on healthy developments. The various forms of media that the AAP are looking at include broadcast and streamed television and movies, sedentary and active video games, social and interactive media that can be creative and engaging, and even highly immersive virtual reality.

The nation’s largest group of pediatricians, The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) has provided a new set of recommendations and resources for professionals and families alike. In fact, the AAP believes that parents and caregivers play an important and vital role in helping children and teens navigate the media environment, just as they help them learn how to behave off-line. They want to recommend that parents and caregivers develop a family media plan that takes into account the health, education, and entertainment needs for each child as well as the whole family.

Families should think proactively about their children’s media use and talk with children about it, because too much media time can mean that children don’t have adequate time during the day to play, study, talk, or sleep. What’s most important is that parents be their child’s media mentor and teach them how to use the tools to create, connect, and learn.

Recommendations

For children 18 months and younger – avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting

Children 18-24 months – you want to introduce digital media, but choose high quality programming and watch it with your child to help them understand what they are seeing

2-5 year olds – limit screen time to 1 hour per day of high quality programs, and children should co-view media with children to help them apply it to the world around them

6 years and older – place consistent limits of the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure that media does NOT take the place of quality sleep, physical activity, and other behaviors essential to health

They also recommend designating media-free times, such as during dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, like bedrooms. And they want you, as the parent. to have an ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect both online and off.

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