We live in an age in which our lives are exposed to media 24/7. Many children have unregulated access to television, smartphones and social media, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), thinks that this level of stimulation may be detrimental to their health.
The organization recently released a revised version of its “Children, Adolescents and the Media” policy statement that said while excessive screen time by itself does not cause health problems, it is a major contributing factor. As such, parents should develop a plan to regulate how much time their children can spend with media.
“A healthy approach to children’s media use should both minimize potential health risks and foster appropriate and positive media use—in other words, it should promote a healthy ‘media diet,'” said Dr. Marjorie Hogan, co-author of the AAP policy, in a statement. “Parents, educators and pediatricians should participate in media education, which means teaching children and adolescents how to make good choices in their media consumption.”
The AAP provided the following suggestions for families who are creating their own media use plans:
- Eliminate screen time for children under the age of two and replace it with an unstructured play period.
- Keep screens out of children’s bedrooms and enact a “media curfew” during meals and bedtime.
- Keep the computer in a public part of the home.
- Limit screen time to less than one to two hours per day.
- Read reviews to prevent your children from watching objectionable programming.
- Seek media options that are educational and teach good values.
If you are unsure if your media plan is sufficient, the AAP recommends that you consult with your child’s pediatrician for suggestions and critiques.
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