The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently revised its recommendations for how much screen time children should get on a daily basis.
Previous years' recommendations were arrived at based on how much time in front of a TV screen was healthy for young children. However, with the prevalence of smartphones, tablets and computer screens in children's everyday lives, television-based recommendations no longer seemed very relevant, especially considering that most children receive instruction from some sort of screen in this ever more digital age.
The AAP's new recommendations are tiered according to age.
For children 18 months and younger, it is still recommended that there be no screen time. The AAP says that the youngest children's brains are still developing to the point that images on the screen are overstimulating, and they need more interaction with the people in their lives; the concern is that screen time could cause a disconnect between babies and their caregivers.
For children ages 2-5, no more than one hour per day of high-quality, educational screen time is recommended. The AAP also notes that avenues such as Skype or Facetime are good options for this hour of screen time, as interaction with real people in the children's lives is a positive use of technology.
For children 6 and older, the AAP gives a lot of latitude to parents in setting limits on their children's screen time. After the proper amount of time spent on school work, after school homework, social contact, sleep and physical activity, parents could allow their children to have screen time, of course ensuring that they are mentoring them in healthy screen use.
To read the AAP's screen time recommendations, visit their website.