We have all seen it. Parents are busy so they give their children some form of digital media to occupy their time while the parents get things done. Often, it is a cell phone with games. Other times, it is a laptop or other small device with games or a movie. Have you ever stopped and thought about how much digital media your children consume each day and whether it is good for them?
In October, 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics held a national conference and discussed new health regulations for children for 2017. One of the main topics was children and digital media. The Academy had previously recommended limiting the amount of television viewing to children who are 2 years or older and no more than two hours a day. However, since we have become saturated with all sorts of digital media, the Academy reviewed its recommendations and issued some new ones.
According to Dr. Jenny Radesky, “Families should proactively think about their children’s media use and talk with children about it, because too much media use can mean that children don’t have enough time during the day to play, study, talk, or sleep.” The Academy stresses the fact that problems begin when digital media takes the place of what children need to be doing in the real world and can negatively affect their health.
Some of the new recommendations are:
1. For children 18-24 months, do not allow them to use a screen except for video chatting.
2. For children 2 to 5 years old, limit screen use to 1 hour of high quality media a day.
3. For children 6 and older, parents should place consistent limits so that their children do not lose sleep and miss out on all the many fun things that children need to do.
Next time, when you want to keep your children occupied, get them a good book to read. They will learn new words and improve their comprehension skills. Nothing can or should replace a good book!
To read more about the Academy’s recommendations, CLICK HERE.