Most parents can recite the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that toddlers under the age of two should have no screen time, but now one of the doctors who helped pen the guidelines is admitting to having some surprising second thoughts on the subject. Not only is Dr. Dimitri A Christakis saying kids under two can have a little screen time, he’s saying it may actually benefit them.
Today reports about the Seattle pediatrician’s new thoughts on the subject that he recently shared in an opinion piece published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Dr. Christaki now feels that devices like the iPad can benefit babies under two as long as they are interacting with the screen rather than passively watching.
Dr. Christaki’s currently recommends between 30 and 60 minutes of interactive screen time for kids under two and says this type of play can have some benefits. Christaki explains that when he helped draft the current AAP recommendations, the current technology aimed at young children was simply not on the market. He says, “The statement was drafted with no knowledge that such a device would ever exist. Now, 3 years later, we still know surprisingly little about how iPads and other interactive media technologies affect children’s cognition — research is simply unable to keep up with the pace of technological advances —and these devices are increasingly popular.”
The important word for parents to remember when choosing an activity for their baby on the iPad or tablet is interactive. Elizabeth R. Sowell, a neuropsychologist at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, explains how playing games on media can be similar to playing with other toys like puzzles or blocks. She says, “The brain is developing so rapidly during that period of time and interactive challenges, whether it’s blocks or playing games on the iPad, that’s really going to wire the brain differently than passive viewing.”
What do you think of the new thoughts about screen time for kids under two?
Do you think allowing your baby to play interactive games on the iPad can be beneficial?