I finally found the article that has the answers I've been AFRAID to find out.  If you are a parent with kids under the age of 18, this is something you no doubt agonize over.  And if you're honest with me, I bet part of you doesn't want to know the answer because what if you find out your kid is way over-screened and you should cut back on their screen time?

Ouch!

The kids at my house are 14 and almost 12.  If you know anything about teens and pre-teens, you know that screens of ALL sorts are part of the story.  Cell phones, tablets at school and gaming time is just part of being a kid in the 21st century.  Sure, we could "Go Amish" but that is not the world they are going to live in, so figuring out a plan is key.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has just released a new set of guidelines which focuses not only on the amount of time, but how when and where they use their screen time.  Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Infants under 18 months should have no screen time.
  • For 18-36 months, it's crucial that screen time include interaction with a parent or adult to talk with them about what they are watching.
  • 2-5 years old should have one hour of quality(educational) programming per day.
  • Using a device to 'soothe' a child (i.e. on a plane or doctor's office) is not a good idea.  It limits the ability to regulate their emotions.   Double ouch!
  • For kids aged 5-18, balance between screen time and no-screen time is the key.  The problem is when screen time takes the place of physical activity, exploration and face-to-face social interaction, which are all critical to learning.

Read more about the new recommendations from the AAP here.  And check out their link for making a Family Media Plan and a Media Time Calculator here.

Good luck!