Here Is How to Decide How Much Screen Time to Give Kids

Source: Time

By Belinda Luscombe

An editor-at-large of TIME

The good news is that the American Academy of Pediatrics has finallyupdated its recommendations on how much time kids should spend on screens to reflect the new role that digital devices play in family lives.

The bad news is what its new guidelines say, which is: it depends. It depends on whether you participate in screen-watching with your kids, how much you can monitor them, whether you’re on a plane or your kid is sick, whether you can make sure they only watch high-quality content and if your kid is more independent or more obedient by nature. In short, the bad news is that the new guidelines mean parents have yet more work to do.

It’s tempting to say “Hey, AAP, thanks for the assist! We’ve got all time in the world to think about this.”

After all, screens are one of the biggest bugbears of modern western parenting. They’re almost unavoidable, they’re something our parents didn’t have to deal with in quite the same way and nobody yet has good data on how much screen-watching is too much in the long run. All of that makes parents anxious, especially as obesity rates head north and ADHD diagnoses follow.

As Ingrid Simone, executive editor of Toca Boca, a creator of apps for kids, puts it: “Kids today have more media options than ever, and it can be challenging for parents to figure out what’s right for their family. The new guidelines do a better job taking into account how much the landscape has changed for kids and media over the last decade.”

But to accommodate the fact that no one set of guidelines fits all, the Academy created an online tool for formulating a plan so that parents and kids can figure out what works best for them.

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