Kids, including very young children, tend to be just as fascinated by digital devices – especially smartphones – as adults. Citing the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Time.com reveals that the newest screen time guidelines for the youngest ones loosened up a little bit. Whereas the ‘old’ guidelines recommended no screen time until the age of 2 years, parents are now recommended not to introduce screen media before the age of 18 months, while video-chatting is now permitted even at a younger age. This, however, doesn’t mean parents should let their children, especially the youngest ones, watch the TV or play with a phone for hours.
Here are the newest screen time guidelines for little ones as recommended by the AAP:
Children aged 0 to 18 months. Very young children (those aged 0 to 18 months) shouldn’t be allowed to watch TV, play with a phone or other screen media in the first place. They are simply too young to benefit from screen media in any way. However, the AAP made an exception when it comes to video-chatting as talking with grandparents and relatives who live far away cannot be compared to allowing children playing with a phone unsupervised. Also, letting very young children to play with your phone is a disaster waiting to happen. If you don’t want to join other parents looking for ways to sell cracked iPhone, don’t let your baby play with your phone.
Children aged 2 to 5 years. According to the latest AAP guidelines, parents may start introducing their youngsters to screen media at about the age of 18 months. However, the AAP also emphasizes that you must make sure that the media content is providing high quality and that it’s appropriate for the child’s age. Even so, parents are advised to supervise their children and limit screen time by the age of 5 years to about one hour a day.
Children aged six years and above. The AAP screen time guidelines for children aged six years and above don’t foresee a healthy time nor provide advice to parents on things such as at what age they should let their kid have their own smartphone. But the AAP strongly advises parents to supervise their kids when using screen media and set clear rules and limits. And equally important, stick to the set rules and limits. Parents are also advised to make sure their kids are adequately physically active and that they get plenty of face-to-face interaction and hands-on activities.