Managing young children's media use

Our children are growing up in a world where many forms of media are both portable and instantly accessible with a touch of a button. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communication and Media put out a new policy statement on Media and Young Minds. According to this recent policy statement, media use should be discouraged in children less than 18 months except for video chatting. For children18-24 months, parents who would like to introduce media should consider high- quality programming or apps that can be used together with their child. Limiting screen time used to 1-hour each day of high-quality programming for children ages 2-5 along with parent co-viewing is also suggested in the policy statement. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends not using media as a way to calm a child. The statement goes on to say that keeping bedrooms, playtimes, and mealtimes screen -free for all. Parents should stop screen time use 1 hour before bedtime and remove all electronic devices from bedrooms prior to bedtime.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests a Family Media Plan may be helpful to set boundaries for children on media use.Although media use has some benefits regarding the development of social skills, it can also put children at risk for bullying, obesity poor sleep, and violence. "Creating a Family Media Plan is an important step in helping parents realize that they can and should still "parent" their children's online life and be aware of, and hopefully approve of, their online and media choices, " says Corinn Cross, M.D., FAAP, a pediatrician who helped develop the resource. Families can use the editable, printable plan to determine screen-free zones, media curfews, and charging areas outside of the bedroom, maintain a balance between media, sleep, and exercise, and learn how to research age-appropriate apps and programs. To access the Family Media Plan, visit HealthyChildren.org/MediaUsePlan.

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*Adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement,"Media Use in School-aged Children and Adolescents." (Pediatrics 2016 Oct.doi:10,1542/peds 2016-2592).

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