The nation’s pediatricians have finally updated their advice on kids and screens. They still want strict time limits for little kids, but for the older ones, no. Instead, they’re asking parents to step up to the plate and make sure their kids are doing everything they need to be healthy, happy, and durable in this crazy busy world.
Since school-aged kids now spend close to 8 hours a day on screen-based media, I was fairly shocked the American Academy of Pediatrics did away with a magic number. So I asked Yolanda (Linda) Reid Chassiakos, MD FAAP, who wrote up the scientific evidence backing the new guidelines, this question:.
The recommendations say that parents of kids 6 and up set "consistent limits" on the time spent using media. Why did the AAP decide not to give a specific hour-per-day limit?
“We used to talk about a 2 hour limit for entertainment media, mostly passive TV viewing, to limit the risks of issues such as obesity. But more recent research has shown that, depending on age and activity level of media use, even as little as 1 to 1 and a half hours of screen time can increase the risk of obesity for some children. Therefore it's important for families to develop a Family Media Use Plan that takes into account the specific needs and risks for each child, and to consider, as noted above, permitting entertainment media use only when healthy activities such as exercise, social time, and adequate sleep are not displaced.“
Get the message? They’re saying that keeping screen time at even less than two hours a day is the ideal, as far as child health and wellness is concerned. Or, looking at it from the durability perspective, if kids actually do what they need to do for daily self-development, there just won’t be time left over for much entertainment by screen-based media.
But before you panic, know that our nation’s pediatricians can help you figure this out. Their new Family Media Plan allows you to plan your child's time wisely. With the Media Time Calculator, you can easily visualize how to apportion a child's day for well-being, including their time on screens.
See how the Calculator works, check out the 3-minute demo included in a Durable Human dispatch.
The bottom line: being a good media mentor takes a mindshift on your part. For your child to have emotional and physical health, you must view screen-based media and other tech in perspective with your child's other daily needs.
For help with that, check out this little gift included in an earlier Parenting Team post. Also, read the answers to these pressing questions I ask Dr. Reid Chassiakos.
Ok–now let’s talk about it!