Upgrade Your Approach to Kids' Screen Time
Technology is nearly everywhere in our world today -- making it increasingly difficult to "unplug." And some forms of technology are more vital and readily available than others. One example is screens -- whether on a television, computer, or a portable device such as a smart phone -- it seems like screens are unavoidable. In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised parents to ban screens before age 2 and limit older kids to two hours daily; however, researchers, educators and doctors recognize that these policies need an upgrade to align with today’s digital world. These points guide parents through the bad and good sides of screen time.
FOR INFANTS AND TODDLERS
THE GOOD: A total ban isn’t necessary. Instead use screens to enhance communication. For instance, video chats with out-of-town grandparents can boost language development.
THE BAD: If your child is 2 years old or younger, he or she is too young to reap many benefits from technology. Studies show even just having the TV on in the background reduces the number of words parents speak, meaning less learning for little ones.
FOR SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN
THE GOOD: Educational TV and apps can help kids learn, provided you choose them wisely. Organizations like Common Sense Media review apps, games and programs for educational quality.
THE BAD: Too much screen time may hinder kids’ development at this age. Encourage unplugged, unstructured playtime each day to develop creativity.
TIPS FOR ALL AGES
Consider setting rules like:
•No screens in bedrooms
•Unplugged family mealtimes — you too, parents
•A “media curfew” before bedtime
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