You may be familiar with the previous recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) regarding screen
time (including TV, games, and everything in between) for children: no more than two hours per day, and for children under two years old, no screen time. While having kids veg out in front of the TV is still not a good thing, the AAP recommendation is now changing.
The pace of digital life moves much faster than policy statements, as the recommendation regarding young children predates the release of the iPad and the huge number of apps aimed at toddlers. More than 30% of US children first play with a mobile device while they are still in diapers. Smartphones and online interaction with friends is a significant part of teenage life now.
With “screen time” commonly becoming simply “time,” the American Academy of Pediatrics convened a symposium in May to evaluate the available data, identify research gaps, and consider how to give thoughtful, practical advice to families based on scientific evidence. Because the topic is so broad, the symposium limited itself to early learning, game-based learning, social/emotional and development concerns, and strategies to foster digital citizenship. The following key messages for families emerged from the symposium:
- Media is just another environment.
- Parenting has not changed.
- Role modeling is critical.
- We learn from each other.
- Content matters.
- Curation helps.
- Co-engagement counts.
- Playtime is important.
- Set limits.
- It’s OK for your teen to be online.
- Create tech-free zones.
- Kids will be kids.
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