A recent study found the average 8 to 10-year-old spends nearly 8 hours a day with different media and for older kids it can be as many as 11 hours per day. So, the American Academy of Pediatrics is putting out a list of guidelines that are designed to help parents manage their children's screen time.
"For kids under 2 you want to have no TV. For older kids you want to limit it. Limit their media use to less than 2 hours per day, and for the teenagers, the major cause of insomnia for my teenagers in my practice- cell phones in the bedroom. Take them away," said Dr. Richard So, who did not help put the guidelines together but is a Pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children's.
The AAP recommends parents model an effective media-use plan and become a role-model for their children. Parents should set limits on themselves and their children, including mealtime and bedtime curfews for media devices.
Screens should also be kept out of a child's bedroom and screen time should be limited to two hours per day or less.
Content is another issue. The AAP recommends parents take an active role by watching content with their kids and discussing its value.
Pediatricians are also being urged to ask questions about a child's screen time during well-visits and challenge the industry for better content. Dr. So believes in, what he calls, daily "media time-outs."
"All cell phones, computers, and tablets are turned off," said So. "It should be, maybe a half-hour or an hour after dinner time where even the TV is turned off and you just talk to each other as families."
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