This October, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new recommendations for children’s exposure to screen time that relax some previous guidance to give families more flexibility, while maintaining limits for safe exposure.
The Academy dropped its strict ban on screen time for kids under the age of two, which had been in place since 1999, acknowledging that not all screen time is equal, and even very young kids can benefit from certain types of media if parents and caregivers are involved.
The AAP now says that for kids of any age – notably infants 0 to 18 months – video-chatting (e.g. Skype and FaceTime) is okay with supervision. For ages 0 to 18-months, video-chatting should be all the screen time they get.
From 18 to 24 months, the AAP now says that infants can use media as long as a parent or caregiver is present to interpret and repeat educational content.
The AAP notes that kids aged 2 to 5 years can start picking up lessons from media. However, some data suggest that over-reliance on media can mess up kids’ sleep and exercise habits, as well as their social, language, and cognitive development.
For kids aged 6 and beyond, the AAP recommends having consistent limits on media, and caregivers should check to make sure that screen time doesn’t get in the way of exercise, a good night’s sleep, and other healthy habits.