Pediatricians give parents new guidelines on smartphone and tablet use by children
The American Academy of Pediatrics updated their guidelines today pertaining to how much "small screen time" children should be exposed to on a daily basis. Technology being what it is today, parents are buying smartphones for their children at younger and younger ages. One of the reasons is to help their kids learn about things faster than they did in the past. A more self-serving reason why parents are buying phones and tablets for their kids revolves around their use as electronic babysitters for the tykes. The idea is to keep the little ones calm while Mommy and Daddy are running errands.
The pediatricians recommend that those under 18 months refrain from playing any games or watching television on a handset or tablet. There is an exception for programming like "Sesame Workshop," or something similar that is designed for that age group. The doctors also recommend that parents watch along with their kids to help explain what is being shown on the screen.
According to the new guidelines, kids 2 to 5 years old should have a one hour daily limit on watching media, including programming streamed over smartphones and slates. Those old enough to attend school should have a daily limit that still leaves plenty of time for sleep and physical activities. In addition, certain times and places should be designated as "media-free" by parents, including dinner time and in the car. Also, banning the use of these devices one hour before bedtime is suggested. The pediatricians recommend keeping small-screened devices out of kids' rooms overnight.
Excessive consumption of media by children can lead to unhealthy kids who are not getting enough sleep. Overexposure to digital media content can leave preschoolers with higher than recommended body mass index readings. The organization did say that letting children use a smartphone or tablet is recommended during airplane flights and trips to the doctor.