Written by, Kabita Thapa, Early Childhood Education Expert
Kids are spending more time with screen media — and at younger ages — than ever before. But there really is no magic number that’s “just right.” What’s more important is the quality of kids’ media, how it fits into your family’s lifestyle, and how you engage your kids with it.
The idea of screen time as a one-dimensional activity is changing — even the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), whose screen time rules had been strictly age-based, is recognizing that not all screen time is created equal. Computers, tablets, and smartphones are multipurpose devices that can be used for lots of purposes. Designating their use simply as “screen time” can miss some important variations. The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens identifies four main categories of screen time.
Clearly, there’s a lot of difference between these activities. But as valuable as many of them can be, it’s still important for kids’ overall healthy development to balance their lives with enriching experiences found off screens. These tips can help:
The AAP ‘s new guidelines, released in October 2016, allow for some screen time for children younger than 2 and emphasize parental involvement for all kids. In a nutshell:
The reality is that most families will go through periods of heavy and light media use, but, so long as there’s a balance, kids should be just fine.
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