From TV to smart phones to tablets, the lives of children and families are dominated by media exposure. More and more families are purchasing tablets for their young children and letting kids routinely play on smartphones.
The first two years of your child’s life are especially important in the growth and development of the brain. During this time, children need positive interaction with other children and adults. This is especially true at younger ages, when learning to talk and play with others is so important. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages TV and other media use by children younger than 2 years and instead encourages interactive play for children. Interactive play helps children develop social skills, gross and fine motor skills, and encourages language development and creativity.
For older children, total entertainment screen time should be limited to less than 1 to 2 hours per day of educational, nonviolent programs/games. The AAP suggests that ALL screen time should be supervised by parents.
The AAP recommends that parents make a media use plan. Media plans should include,
- Mealtime and bedtime curfews for media devices
- Screens should be kept out of kids’ bedrooms
- A no-device rule during meals
- A set family rules covering the use of the Internet and social media and cellphones and texting, including, which sites can be visited, who can be called and giving parental access to all social media accounts.
- Limits on 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