The American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidelines Friday to help parents manage their kids’ screen time. Here is some of their advice:
- Children under the age of 2 should avoid all digital media use except for video chatting via apps like Skype and Facetime.
- If you must introduce digital media to toddlers between the ages of 18 and 24 months, choose high-quality programming and sit with your child. Solo viewing should be avoided.
- Children ages 2 to 5 years should have no more than one hour of screen use a day. Be sure to select high-quality programming and watch it with your children.
- Keep bedrooms, mealtimes and parent-child playtime free of screens. (Parents, that goes for you too: Set your phone on “Do not disturb.”)
- If you have children between the ages of 5 and 18, place consistent limits on their hours per day of media use, as well as the types of media they use.
- Discourage the use of entertainment media while doing homework.
- Children of all ages should avoid exposure to devices and screens for one hour before bedtime.
- Keep smartphones, TVs and other devices out of the bedroom.
- Communicate the family’s media guidelines to grandparents, babysitters and other caregivers so screen rules are followed consistently.
- Have an ongoing conversation with older children about online citizenship and safety. This includes treating people with respect online; saying no to cyberbullying and sexting; and avoiding communications that can compromise personal privacy and safety.
- To help your family develop a plan that is right for you, visit www.HealthyChildren.org/MediaUseplan.