Pediatricians have new screen time guidelines... what are yours?

Tech Talk Tuesday #38
What are your rules when it comes to your kid's screen use?

This week the American Academy of Pediatrics released new recommendations on screen time.  

They now recommend that children younger than 18 months “avoid digital media use (except video-chatting),” but kids 18 months and older can use digital media. They also say that children 2 to 5 years should limit their time to one hour a day and for youth 5 years and older they now don't really have a recommended cap on screen time. 

This is a big change from their last set of recommendations back In 2013 that urged parents not to let kids under 2-years old engage with screens at all. Children 2 years and older (all the way up to age 18) were advised to limit exposure to two hours a day. 

I am concerned about some of the age guidelines in these newly revised recommendations: 

  • Reducing recommended age to 18 months is troubling. At a time when kids are developing formative habits and have very little ability to self-regulate, many kids will get conditioned to go to screens for comfort, entertainment and just plain novelty.  Also, there is substantial evidence that shows language is learned much better human-to-human than with a computer.
  • They’ve taken away any cap on screen exposure for kids older than five years old. Studies have found a strong correlation between increased screen time and decreased attention span and for pediatricians to not have clear recommendations for limiting screen time seems irresponsible.

I am happy that the guidelines specifically encourage families to regularly talk to their kids about the many issues around screen time. This is exactly the point of our Tech Talk Tuesday (TTT). 

For today's TTT let’s talk together about what we think about these recommendations.

  • How many hours a day do you think is reasonable for screen time? 
  • How many hours do you think you are on screens a day?
  • How many hours do you think the American Pediatric Association recommends for kids 5 and up?
  • Do you think screen time usage should be different for different ages?
  • Do you think that we as adults should set the number of hours a day you are on screens?
  • Do you think the hours spent on screens for school or homework, or for work, should be included in the total number of hours any of us should be on screens?
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