What does research say about screen time?
Findings on TV exposure
Exposure to certain types of television is related to:
- poor school readiness and performance (Fitzpatrick,Barnett, & Pagani, 2012)
- attention difficulties (Swing, Gentile, Anderson, & Walsh, 2010)
- lower vocabulary scores (Zimmerman, Christakis, & Meltzoff, 2007)
- Impaired social skills (Conners- Burrow, McKelvey, & Fussell, 2011)
Impact of TV on children’s development
- may differ for children of different ages
- some periods are more sensitive to their cognitive development
What are the screen time recommendations for children?
Here are some of American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) recommendations:
- For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.
- For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
- For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviours essential to health.
- Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
- Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.
“What’s most important is that parents be their child’s ‘media mentor.’ That means teaching them how to use it as a tool to create, connect and learn.” Problems begin when media use displaces physical activity, hands-on exploration and face-to-face social interaction in the real world, which is critical to learning. Too much screen time can also harm the amount and quality of sleep.
You can create your own media plan here: Healthy Children
Nathanson, Amy & Aladé, Fashina & Sharp, Molly & Rasmussen, Eric & Christy, Katheryn. (2014). The Relation Between Television Exposure and Executive Function Among Preschoolers. Developmental psychology. 50. 10.1037/a0035714. (Link)
American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Recommendations for Children’s Media Use (Link)
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