Many parents grapple with how much screen time they should or should not allow their children to have. Some new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) hopes to clear up some confusion and give parents an idea of what is appropriate for each age group when it comes to screens.
ABC News reports about the AAP’s new guidelines for children and screen time and how it changes as they get older. It’s not much of a surprise that the new report says children should not be exposed to any screen time before the age of 18 months. And then as toddlers, limited educational screen time is recommended.
Beyond 18 months, kids ages 2 - 5 should be limited to one hour of screen time per day. The AAP has advice for parents of children over five as well, saying their screen time needs to be limited in order to allow for extra time each day to be physically active, creative and sleep better at night.
It sounds like a good plan, but in reality when dinner is being made, one child is in a bath, and another is doing homework - it can be very easy to allow more than 60 minutes of screen time to sneak by each day. That’s why the AAP has also created a tool to help support parents in coming up with a media plan. On their website, parents can fill out their own family media plan and decide where and when screens and devices will be used in the household.
The AAP believes it’s important for households to embrace limiting children’s screen time, especially since too much of it can lead to obesity, poor sleep habits and withdrawing from “real life” in favor of computers and phones. Child psychologist at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital in Cleveland Carolyn Landis urges parents to get more involved with their kids, make putting down the phone fun. Set up playdates where they will have to be active like at a park, bowling alley or rock climbing wall.
What do you think of the most recent recommendations from the AAP regarding screen time and kids?
Do you try to limit your child’s screen time each day?
I think it's fantastic! It's hard to try and implement rules like this with kids and end up being the " bad" parent. I have an 18 year old daughter and I still tell her to get off that phone on a daily basis. I just don't want her main focus to be on social media it isn't healthy, besides she needs to focus on senior year and college.
We started a digital detox zone in our house. In fact, it is the one room in the house where I removed the TV so everyone is forced to talk to each other. My children are older 14,12,and 9 and they turn in their devices by 10pm unless using them for schoolwork. In there lies the challenge as a parent. School textbooks and assignments keep children glued to the screens. I can monitor screen time but realistically, technology and its use has been invited in our home without my consent for numerous hours. I agree that screen time should be limited for children younger than 5, the issue is whether under the guise of education, we allow our children more leeway because we think its better than being glued to a TV.