Children and electronic media

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their recommendations regarding exposure of children and adolescents to digital media. The authors of this policy statement remind us that, on average, 8 to 10year-olds spend nearly 8 hours a day with a variety of different media, and that older children and teenagers spend more than 11 hours per day.; most of this time is spent watching television. In addition, over 80% of children have Internet access, a third of them accessing it from their bedroom.

The Academy offers these recommendations (among others):

  • Discourage screen media exposure for children <2 years of age.
  • Limit the amount of total entertainment screen time to <1 to 2 hours per day.
  • Keep TV sets and Internet connected devices out of the child’s bedroom.
  • Monitor media access.
  • Coview TV, movies, and videos with children, as a way of discussing important values.

They also offer specific recommendation to schools; among them:

  • Educate school boards and school administrators about evidence based health risks associated with unsupervised, unlimited media access and use by children and adolescents, as well as ways to mitigate those risks.
  • Work collaboratively with parent teacher associations to encourage parental guidance in limiting or monitoring age appropriate screen times.
  • Schools that do use new technology like iPads need to have strict rules about what students can access.
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