Beyond ‘turn it off’: How to advise families on media use
When families seek our professional advice on managing technology in their children’s lives, we turn to research-based AAP guidelines that promote positive media use and discourage potentially harmful use.
The most well-known of these guidelines discourage “screen time” for children under age 2 and limit “screen time” to two hours a day for children over age 2 (; ). As we know, however, scientific research and policy statements lag behind the pace of digital innovation.
Case in point: The 2011 AAP policy statement Media Use by Children Younger Than Two Years was drafted prior to the first generation iPad and explosion of apps aimed at young children.
Today, more than 30% of U.S. children first play with a mobile device when they still are in diapers, according to Common Sense Media. Furthermore, almost 75% of 13- to 17-year-olds have smartphones, and 24% admit using their phones almost constantly, according to the Pew Research Center.