Many children probably received gifts with screens on them last Christmas. Digital media can have both positive and negative effects on healthy development.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently announced new recommendations for children’s media use. Research is still too new on the devices and their content, however educational, and how they could affect a young brain’s emotional and cognitive development but there are some basic guidelines to consider. What is most important is that parents monitor the media use and talk to children about it.
Here are the basics of the new recommendations:
Under 18 months ~ limit screen time to “video chatting” with family and friends and with a parent present
18 months to 5 years ~ One hour of “high quality” programing per day. It is best to have parent involvement watching along with their child to reinforce what they are seeing on the screen
6 years plus ~ balance media use with other healthy behaviors
Problems arise when children are allowed screen time in place of other activities such as physical activity, social face-to-face interaction, and sleeping. Communication and role modeling are key to the healthy use of screen time for children.