Children and screen time: Part 2

How much screen time?

The first question that comes to mind is this-How much screen time is ok? To answer this we turn to the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This is a professional body of pediatricians that look at all aspects of children’s health. They collaborate with pediatricians worldwide.

According to the AAP, children up to 24 months should not be exposed to screens at all except for video calling a close family member. Even this minimal viewing should be done only with a caregiver present for the entire duration of the screen time.

Children in the 2- to 5-year-old age group may be allowed one hour of screen time a day as per the guidelines. Children older than 5 may be permitted more screen time only as and when it is necessary. Setting consistent limits and boundaries with the child and ensuring that child understands these, is the key to limiting screen time. Implementation of the same by the parent or the care givers such as grand parents should also be consistent so that the child understands that this is not something to be lax about.

Some good practices adopted by parents go a long way in consistently keeping screen times in control. First and foremost, the parent needs to be a role model and reduce their screen time first and then advice their children. Parents can also install and use parental control apps to monitor the screen time. Co engagement by planning activities that don’t involve screen and ensure family time are also recommendations to help get children away from screens.

In the next part we will look at how to safeguard your eyes if you MUST use screens for a longer time-either due to digital mode of learning or profession. Most of these are applicable to children and adults.