As a parent, you probably struggle over the same debate in many households: how much screen time should each child have each day? Most parents agree that screen time should be limited. But there isn’t one solution that works for every family. This approach needs to be catered to the needs of each child.
Previously, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that parents should limit screen time to a maximum of two hours per day for each child. What constitutes screen time? Any time spent in front of the television, a cell phone, laptop, or a tablet. This recommendation was a blanket suggestion for all children, regardless of the age of the type of content viewed on the device.
Recently, the AAP changed their recommendation for screen time, depending on the type of media that is consumed. Instead of a one-size-fits-all screen time limit for every family, the AAP now offers an online tool to help you figure out the right fit for your child. You can use the Family Media Use Plan to easily calculate how much time your child should spend in front of a screen each day.
Instead of clumping all screen time together, it is essential to distinguish between the type of media that is on the screen. For example, there is a big difference between educational programming or games and entertainment.
By considering the type of media that is used, parents can give more latitude to students using the internet to research homework or improve their skills. There are many great resources online that offer classes and tutoring to complement classroom learning. Instead of limiting access to these sites, consider the benefit of limiting media entertainment such as commercial television, video games, social media, and video sites.
Based on their recommendations, children under the age of 18 months should avoid all screens. The exception is an app to communicate with family members, such as FaceTime or Skype.
There are many reasons why parents often limit media time for their children. This media time needs to be balanced with other healthy activities, such as physical exercise, play, and face-to-face communication. Children need time for hands-on activities and social interaction instead of spending their day in front of a screen.
Are you interested in learning more about protecting your child’s vision? For more information, call our Temecula office at (951) 302-1331 or our Murrieta office at (951) 600-9226.