The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued updated recommendations for children’s media use, which include a change to the prior restriction on any screen time for children under age 2. The new guidelines say parents should avoid screens in children under age 18 months, though video-chatting is permitted for children of all ages. The goal of the recommendations is “to balance media use with other healthy activity,” the Academy said in a statement.
For children ages 2 to 5, the new guidelines scale back the previous recommendation of no more than 2 hours of entertainment time with screens. Going forward, children in that age group should have no more than 1 hour of screen time.
The specific recommendations include:
- Children younger than 18 months should not use screen media other than for video-chatting
- Children ages 18 to 24 months may view high-quality programming if their parents watch it along with them to guide their understanding
- Children ages 2 to 5 years should not watch more than 1 hour per day of high-quality programming
- Children ages 6 and older should receive consistent limits on media time and types of media. Media use should not take the place of sleep, physical activity, and other healthy behaviors.
- Some times should be designated media-free, such as during dinner or driving. Media-free locations, such as bedrooms, should be designated at home.
“Parents play an important role in helping children and teens navigate the media environment, just as they help them learn how to behave off-line. The AAP wants to provide parents the evidence-based tools and recommendations to help them make their children’s media experience a positive one,” said Yolanda Reid Chassiakos, MD, FAAP, lead author of the technical report that outlines the scientific literature supporting the recommendations.
To assist parents, the AAP has provided a link to a Family Media Use Plan: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/media/Pages/default.aspx