(CNN) – Digital media exposure for children of all ages should be limited, according to new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Previously the Academy set a general screen time limit: no more than two hours in front of the TV for kids over age 2. Today, in a world surrounded by digital media 24/7, defining screen time is difficult.
“It doesn’t make sense to make a blanket statement [of two hours] of screen time anymore,” said Dr. Yolanda Reid Chassiakos, lead author of the “Children and Adolescents and Digital Media Technical Report” and assistant professor at UCLA. “For some children, two hours may be too much.”
For the new guidelines, the AAP identifies screen time as time spent using digital media for entertainment purposes. Other uses of media, such as online homework, don’t count as screen time.
Among the AAP recommendations:
- For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.
- For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it 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 behaviors essential to health.
- Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
- Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.
Click here to calculate screen time for your children or make a media plan for your family.