Pediatricians Lower Recommended Age for Media

Instead of two years, the American Academy of Pediatrics pegs 18 months as OK to start screen time
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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has announced new recommendations for media use by children, dropping the age for screen media—other than video chat—from two years to 18 months.

The AAP is still cautioning that parents who choose to show videos to kids under two stick with programming suitable to their age and watch it with them, to help them understand what they're watching. However, this is the first time the group is acknowledging that some media may have an educational value for children under two, pointing to Sesame Workshop and PBS content.

“Families should proactively think about their children’s media use and talk with children about it, because too much media use can mean that children don’t have enough time during the day to play, study, talk, or sleep,” said Dr. Jenny Radesky, lead author of the policy statement, “Media and Young Minds.”

The new guidelines suggest children under the age of five are limited to an hour a day of screen time, while kids 6 and older have consistent limits and that screen time doesn’t interfere with sleep and physical activity.

"Parents play an important role in helping children and teens navigate media, which can have both positive and negative effects," said Dr. Megan Moreno, a lead author of a policy statement on media use in school-aged children and teens. "Parents can set expectations and boundaries to make sure their children's media experience is a positive one. The key is mindful use of media within a family.” 

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