New screen time guidelines were released on October 21, 2016 by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP recommends that parents and caregivers develop a family media plan that takes into account the health, education and entertainment needs of each child as well as the whole family.
You can find the Family Media Use Plan tool here:
In addition to these valuable guidelines having open, honest and age appropriate conversations with young people about mature content found on-line and what it means and why it is potentially harmful or dangerous, should start early and happen often.
A snapshot of the AAP's recommendatons include:
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 behaviors 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.
Keep the conversation going. Children and teens are looking to the adults in their lives for guidance and as role models when it comes to appropriate and safe on-line behaviors.