Up until recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) took a very hard stance on managing children’s technology use. In the academy’s research-based AAP guidelines, they advised that “screen time” (or the amount of time a child spent using a device with a screen, such as a cell phone or tablet) should be prohibited for children under age 2 and limited to two hours a day for children over 2 years old.
The guidelines, initially published in 2011, were recently revised, however, to reflect the explosion of technology and apps aimed at young children. According to the non-profit Common Sense Media, more than 30 percent of children in the U.S. first play with a mobile device while they are still in diapers. Nearly 75 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds have smartphones, of which 24 percent admit to using their phones almost constantly, reports the Pew Research Center.
According to the AAP, “screen time” is becoming simply “time,” and so they set out to review and update their guidelines, including through a two-day “Growing Up Digital: Media Research Symposium” in May. The goal of the symposium, notes the AAP website, was to evaluate available data, identify gaps in research, and consider how to provide thoughtful, practical advice to parents based on the evidence.
Here’s a recap of the AAP’s key messages and updated guidelines for managing media usage and screen time for kids: