Screen time is a big topic for many households due to the increased use of screens over the past few years. Excessive use of screens in children and teens has been linked to changes in sleeping patterns, delays in learning or social skills, behavioral changes, decreased school performance, increased obesity risk, and cyberbullying. Help keep your children healthy and safe by reviewing how and when to use screens appropriately.
Positive effects of screen time can be seen in everyday life, such as communicating with friends and family, awareness of news & current events, and access to educational information or resources. Unfortunately, screens also have a variety of negative impacts, therefore regulating screen time at home helps prevent overuse of media devices. To decrease the impact of screen use on sleeping habits, it is recommended to stop use of screens at least 1 hour before bedtime and keep the bedroom screen-free. Designate screen-free times at home as well, such as family dinner or other meals. When working on homework, avoid use of devices for entertainment, such as television and gaming. Make time every day for your child to exercise by doing activities including sports or going outdoors to play. Although many older children and teenagers use screens in their everyday lives, limiting the use or delaying the introduction of screens for children younger than 2 years old is recommended!
Certain resources such as Common Sense Media (www.commonsensemedia.org) can help you assess if media content is appropriate for your child to view based on age. It is also important to work together as a family to form a media plan for everyone at home to follow (www.healthychildren.org/mediauseplan). Any guidelines that are implemented at home should be kept consistent and even be used at other locations where your child may spend a lot of time (such as grandparents’ houses). Also remember: your actions and habits often impact how your child’s habits form. Set a good example by avoiding overuse of your own electronic devices.
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). (July 20, 2022). Beyond Screen Time: Help Your Kids Build Healthy Media Use Habits. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Healthy-Digital-Media-Use-Habits-for-Babies-Toddlers-Preschoolers.aspx?_gl=1*g3a5vd*_ga*MTE3NDg2NzE1MS4xNjM0NjU3Mjk2*_ga_FD9D3XZVQQ*MTY5MDg0OTU2OS4xNzYuMC4xNjkwODQ5NTY5LjAuMC4w