Pediatricians Set Limits on Screen Time

Andrea Petersen at The Wall Street Journal reports that The American Academy of Pediatrics’ New Guidelines on Children’s Use of Internet, TV, Cellphones, Videogames.


“Excessive media use is associated with obesity, poor school performance, aggression and lack of sleep,” said Marjorie Hogan, co-author of the new policy and a pediatrician.

Families should have a no-device rule during meals and after bedtime, the guidelines say. Parents should also set family rules covering the use of the Internet and social media and cellphones and texting, including, perhaps, which sites can be visited, who can be called and giving parental access to Facebook accounts. The policy also reiterated the AAP’s existing recommendations: Kids should limit the amount of screen time for entertainment to less than two hours per day; children younger than 2 shouldn’t have any TV or Internet exposure. Also, televisions and Internet-accessible devices should be kept out of kids’ bedrooms.

Doctors say parents need to abide by the family rules, too, to model healthy behavior. That, some say, may be the toughest part.

Perhaps the more important point is that it is important for parents and caregivers to be aware that for children under three need interaction with familiar adults more than they need instruction. In the first three years, children need adults to help develop their communication skills: listen to speech patterns, hear words and pauses, take turns making sounds or speaking. These are the things that prepare their brains to learn and share effectively when they embark on early childhood education.