This week, the AAP met to discuss new children’s health recommendations for 2017. Children’s screen time, social media and cyberbullying were key points of interest. Previously the Academy set a general screen time limit: no more than two hours in front of the TV for kids over age 2.
· Infants 18 months and younger: No screen time
· Children 2 to 5 years: One hour per day
· Children 6 years and older: Limit digital media
Babies are most vulnerable to screens. Infants aged 18 months and younger should not be exposed to any digital media, the academy says. For parents with infants, cutting off technology completely can be challenging. But banning screen time for babies is hugely important for brain development and healthy parent-child connections.
The academy recommends that for children 2 to 5 years of age, screen time should be limited to one hour per day. For kids ages 6 and older, parents can determine the restrictions for time spent using screen, as well as monitor the types of digital media their children use.
Tips for parents for healthy digital media use
Parents are children’s main role models, so it’s important for moms and dads to have healthy digital media habits. This means being conscious of setting down cellphones, turning off the TV and shutting laptops at night.
With phones off the dinner table, families can have in-person conversations, which are very important for children’s development. Parents benefit from media-free practices, too. Face-to-face interactions with family creates more intimate bonds, and tech-free bedrooms can promote better sleep.
Keeping tech devices out of bedrooms is also a good way to monitor kids’ digital media activity.
For help constructing a digital media plan for the whole family, the AAP recommends using the Family Media Plan tool, which can be found at healthychildren.org.