Setting Guidelines for Media Use for Children
Now that summer is in full swing, it will likely be a short time before you hear those perennial summer words, “I’m bored.” And when children are bored, they often turn to a screen for entertainment. On our Facebook page last week, we quizzed you on media use and guidelines for children, and today we will give you the quiz answers and some suggestions for setting structure for media use in your family.
How much screen time is recommended for children ages 2-5? -- Up to 1 Hour per Day
- On this one I am guilty! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages 2-5 limit screen use to no more than 1 hour per day while co-viewing with a parent. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need a little help from the screen in order to get some things done! While I think you can allow some extra time in front of the screen, I would also recommend trying to co-view with them at least some of the time. Co-viewing is when parents watch TV or play apps with children and discuss the content while viewing. Co-viewing with children can improve cognitive, literacy, and social outcomes for young children, but excessive viewing, on the other hand, can cause delays in these areas.
For children 8 and older, what is the average daily amount of time spent watching TV? -- Over 2 hours
- The recommendation for children at this age is to spend no more than 2 hours per day watching a screen. Excessive media use can lead to obesity, problems with sleeping, and distracted homework and studying. Again, this guideline may not completely work for your family, but you can create zones in your home where there is no media use, such as in the bedroom and at the kitchen table. This can lead to positive effects for interaction at dinner, less distraction during homework time, and promotion of healthy sleep at night.
What percent of US youth, ages 8-18, meet the criteria for Internet gaming disorder? -- Up to 8.5%
- While Internet gaming disorder is not an official psychiatric diagnosis at this time, it is considered a condition for further study, as more and more children and teens display problematic Internet use. Problematic use means that these children and teens have preoccupation with the activity, decreased interest in “real-life” relationships, inability to decrease use, and withdrawal symptoms. To counteract this, set a limit on daily media use for your family (maybe at least on school nights), and model other behaviors, such as reading, engaging in physical activity, and spending time together as a family playing a game or cooking a meal.
What percent of teenagers describe themselves as “constantly connected” to the Internet? -- 25%
- As the prevalence of smartphones and tablets or computer use at school increases, teens are becoming more and more connected to the Internet. Technology can provide a wealth of opportunities for expanding education, but it can also present some real challenges to parents who can no longer control what information their child is exposed to. Parents should start talking to their children early about Internet use, as well as monitor social media activity. While parents cannot control everything their teens see on the Internet, they can teach their children to be wise consumers of information and good digital citizens.
As summer rolls on and children are looking for things to do, we do not suggest that they can never watch TV or play video games; however, parents should consciously think about what media guidelines make sense for their family. For more help on how to find high-quality programming or have conversations about media usage with your children, you can consult www.commonsensemedia.org or contact the Center at 513-871-6080 ext. 402 for more personalized suggestions.
Blogger Stephanie Dunne, Ed.S., is the Center Director at Springer School and Center. Prior to coming to Springer, Stephanie practiced as a school psychologist in public and private schools for ten years. If you have questions, please contact Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org.