Technology usually accompanies a family outing when you have kids. Tablets, phones, TVs, and laptops are placed in front of children starting at a young age. Many times, this effort is used as a way to entertain the child while parents are working or having other conversations. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) claims there is a lack of development in kids aged 2-5 because of their screen time. According to the AAP, around one hour of “high-quality” screen time is all a little one needs. Because there is a lot of mental/motor development happening in the first few years of life, it’s important kids spend these crucial years honing their skills.
UNDER 5 YEARS OLD
According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) new study, any child under 2 should not have screen time. Instead, allow them to play with age appropriate toys to help build their cognitive and motor skills as well as language acquisition. For children ages 3-4, they should only have around 60 minutes of leisure screen time. Fiona Bull with the WHO says there is more research needed to determine excessive screen time side effects, but the ultimate goal is to promote physical activities and interaction.
KIDS & TEENS
This age group is much broader in terms of age and accessible content, but research has yet to narrow down specific time limits. The main recommendation from the AAP is to limit their time and access to devices. If you missed our Parents and Tech Lunch & Learn (you can click here to read the event summary), Jay Lowrance shared a lot of great information and tactics on managing screen time for kids. One valuable (and shocking) piece of information he said was about 99% of screen time is used for consumption and less than 1% is used for creativity. If you’re not sure how to use screen time to benefit their growth, find creative outlets that allow them to learn new skills or craft ones they already have.
Examining screen time habits in children is all about prevention. Many adults are already addicted to their devices and spend more than 10 hours/day on them. Although you most likely need a laptop or other device to complete your job, the “addiction” comes into play when you’re checking your device routinely or indulging screen time after work. If Netflix or games are how you destress at the end of the day, you should read a book (without the use of a device) or find another activity to take you away from technology.