The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have published new policy statements on digital media use by infants, toddlers, and preschoolers and in school-aged children (ages 5 to 18).The following are some of the key points:
- Excessive digital media use is associated with obesity, shorter sleep duration and delays in cognitive, language and social/emotional development in young children.
- Avoid digital media use (except video-chatting) in children younger than 18 to 24 months.
- For children ages 18 to 24 months of age, if you want to introduce digital media, choose high-quality programming and use media together with your child. Avoid solo media use in this age group.
- For children 2 to 5 years of age, limit screen use to a maximum of 1 hour per day of high-quality programming, coview with your children, help children understand what they are seeing, and help them apply what they learn to the world around them.
- For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviours essential to health. (AAP previously recommended no more than 2 hours a day of sedentary screen time for this age group. New research shows this should be no more than 1.5 hours daily for children aged 9 or under).
- Avoid all digital media use during meals and for 1 hour before bedtime.
- Because parent media use is a strong predictor of child media habits, limit parental media use (including background television) and ensure media-free parent–child interactions.
- For older children, have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.
A personalised Family Media Use tool is available here. This tool can help parents to think about digital media use within the family and create goals and rules that are in line with the family’s values.
The full technical report from AAP is available here.