There are new recommendations for screen time for babies from the AAP. Earlier advice advocated that children under age 2 avoid all screens. Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that it is OK for for babies to Face Time or Skype with family. In addition, older children and teens can socialize, learn, and play online, as long as they engage in offline life by sleeping, eating, socializing, exercising, and having conversations.
The new set of guidelines was published online by the journal Pediatrics. The previous longstanding recommendations were that children under age two avoid all screens and older children and teens restrict their use of digital media to no more than two hours a day.
Parents are still told to set limits on children’s access to electronic media, for duration and also for locations. However, the doctors acknowledge that electronic media has benefits and is pervasive, along with having risks.
Time on computers, phones, tablets and other devices “is not evil, it does not need to be avoided,” said Megan Moreno an associate professor of adolescent medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and a guideline author. “It just needs to be balanced with all the other things kids need.”
The doctors continue to recommend that infants and toddlers not have any screen time with television or electronic devices, with the exception of Face Time or Skype with family members and friends. These interactions build relationships. However, there is no evidence supporting any benefit for children under the age of 24 months using mobile apps, internet activities, or television.