The American Academy of Pediatrics has just announced that some screen watching is OK. A bit. But how much is too much?
The word is out: watching screens is OK. Well, sort of.
In this media-full world, many parents approve of and follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines for babies watching entertainment on tablets, computers and TVs.
In the past, it was this: don’t allow them to watch anything.
Why? Because studies have shown that increased screen watching in children under the age of two is connected with poorer language skills and language delays. Kids are watching screens and not talking with adults and older kids, and learning about the world, and so they fall behind.
The earlier children watch, studies have said, the worse the outcome.
So, all those “educational videos”: bunk. You could throw them out the window.
But things have now changed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has just announced that some screen watching is OK. A bit. Children should be watching for no more than an hour a day, and caregivers need to be involved.
The experts are advising that caregivers treat the screen like a picture book for those under the age of 2. Adults should talk about what’s on screen, point to objects and repeat vocabulary words as they apply. This way, kids can increase their language skills even while watching, and have a fun time interacting socially.
Here is a run down of the new rules:
The aim, the society states, is to avoid solo watching for the very young.
For babies under 18 months, it’s still recommended they watch no screens at all, except for live video chat with family and friends, which, on occasion, is OK.
For those 15 months- 2 years old: watch with them and be involved.
For children aged 2 to 5: coview, still talk about what’s onscreen and stick to programs like Sesame Street. Limit it to one hour a day, and don’t forget to get outside!