No screen time for kids under two? Not anymore, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.
A recent press release alters the AAP’s longstanding recommendations for children and media use. Originally instated with television and video games in mind, the AAP prohibited screen time for children under two years old, and no more than two hours per day for children over two.
The new recommendations do include time restrictions, but they focus more on the content of the media and parental involvement in children’s media use. And, in line with a recent study about toddlers and FaceTime, the American Academy of Pediatrics puts video chatting in a category of its own. Grandparents, rejoice! The new AAP guidelines do not restrict FaceTime or Skype for babies or toddlers of any age.
Prior to 18 months of age, the AAP stands its ground: No screen time, with the aforementioned exception of video chatting. The new recommendations do state that some educational media may be beneficial for toddlers between the ages of 18 and 24 months– a change from the previous policy. The statement does strongly discourage solo viewing for toddlers, though. Parents should co-view any media with their toddlers and help them understand what they see. Digital babysitting is still a no-no.
The new policy doubles down on older toddlers and preschoolers, though. Children between the ages of two and five years should only view high quality digital media for no more than one hour per day. Co-viewing with parents is still a must, and parents should help their children understand the content and relate it to the real world.
For children over 6, the new recommendations become more principle-based. Parents should have consistent limits on the amount of time spent with a screen and the type of content viewed. Screen time should not interfere with adequate sleep, physical activity, and other important aspects of a healthy life.
For children and adults of all ages, the American Academy of Pediatrics encourages designated media-free times (mealtime and driving are given as examples) and media-free areas (bedrooms are specifically mentioned). Parents should also initiate and encourage an ongoing dialogue about cyberbullying and treating others with respect digitally and in real life. Families should make a Family Media Use Plan.
Here at Clean Router, we love the AAP’s new health-oriented policy on screen time. We especially recommend that families of all ages follow the advice to create a Family Media Use Plan and utilize the Clean Router as a resource for supporting the family plan. You can click here to read our tips on creating a Family Media Use Plan for your family!
What will change in your family as a result of the AAP’s new guidelines? Comment below!
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