In our digital age, the amount of screen time your children get is a matter of health. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics recently revised their guidelines for the amount of screen time recommended for various age groups. But get this: the direction comes with the advice for parents to limit their screen time as well. Here’s the scoop:
Between browsing websites, online shopping, social media, gaming and general entertainment, screen time is on the rise for adults as much as kids. A recent survey showed that parents spend nearly 8 hours using digital media, much of which unrelated to their jobs. Surprisingly, despite the survey’s findings most parents say they are good role models for their children when it comes to limiting screen time.
It’s hard for children to understand screen time limitations when their own parents are addicted to digital media. The constant drone of a television set in the home, checking social media updates regularly, and taking phone calls during family time are all examples of poor media habits for families.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limited to no screen time for children under the age of six. Babies and toddlers should not have any exposure to digital media, including in the background, as it can be distracting and over-stimulating. Even during breastfeeding, babies should have their mother’s attention and eye contact to improve their health and confidence and strengthen the bond between mother and child.
The AAP sets a limit of one hour of screen time for children between two and five years old. This includes television, videos and computer games. Parents of children six and older should set their own limitations to digital media based on their child’s needs and the family’s situation and priorities. And of course children, tweens and teens should be monitored to ensure they are not exposed to inappropriate subject matters online. The only exclusion to screen time is that used for homework, including research, educational programming and academically focused learning websites.
Screen time should never come at the expense of other important activities productive to your child’s health and wellness. Children need plenty of sleep and physical activity, neither of which should be interrupted due to digital media. Additionally, spending quality time together as a family during meals, playtime and beyond is essential for the emotional health and wellbeing of your kids.
Limiting screen time for kids is a critical parenting decision. It’s one that starts by being a good role model and continues by putting digital media rules in place to meet the needs of your entire family.
Sources: Huffington Post and CNN