Turn the TV off, put the iPad down and put the phone on Do Not Disturb. Well, at least for your children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics released Friday new recommendations for children's media use, updating its apparently out-dated guidelines which were just released last year. The new guidelines, according to the AAP, will help families "maintain a healthy media diet."
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," said the policy statement's author Jenny Radesky.
Some of the new recommendations changed in the report are toddler's screen time and digital media time for the older kids.
- 18 months and younger: The AAP is officially recommending no screen time for infants, unless, of course, it's video-chatting. The reason for this, the AAP says, is because the screen causes a disconnect between the child and parent at a time were the child needs at to interact with parents.
- 2 to 5 years old: This one could be difficult — one hour of screen time a day. What's the reason? Well, according to the policy, playtime at this age is far more important than using tablets, phones or watching TV. Also, choose media that is "interactive, non-violent, educational, and prosocial," and watch it with children to help them better understand what they're watching.
- 6 years and older: For the older kids, it's all about consistency. The AAP suggests setting limits for your kids that allow a priority of productive time rather than entertainment time.
The AAP also recommends setting designated "media-free" times for family as well as having areas of the home free of media.
Much of this, obviously, varies based on the family and child, so the AAP released a "Family Media Use Plan" tool in efforts to help families set their own guidelines.