American Academy of Pediatrics

The Upshot Of New Screen Time Guidelines? Spend Time With Your Kids.

November 4, 2016
in Kids

The American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidelines last week on kids' media use. According to headlines across the country, the new guidelines downward revise the medical group's previous call that parents prohibit their kids from using screens until they are at least two years of age. It is true that the new recommendations appreciate that even children younger than two can benefit from video chat, FaceTime and other such screen-based means of communicating with family or others. (13.7's own Tania Lombrozo took up this very issue here a few weeks back.) But the more urgent message is altogether different. Most apps, games and shows, as the lead author of the guidelines has pointed out, live in the attention economy: They are built to be exciting and to grab attention — they're all bells and whistles. Little brains don't have the attention or impulse control to cope with bells and whistles. For them, slower, quieter, less, is more. So the AAP guidelines continue to recommend that kids younger than 18 months stay unplugged and hands on (with the exception of video chat in the company of their folks). What is new is that the guidelines now acknowledge, on the basis of new research, that there is a healthy and positive place for screen time in the lives of kids younger than two (but not younger than 18 months). But only when two conditions are met. First, the screen time in question has to be parent time, that is,...

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