AAP Children’s Media Use Guidelines

I came across a post in our Google Community that led me to two articles discussing the new recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics for media use among children. As an educator and as a parent this information is very important to me. I feel the need to monitor my own children’s use of media as well as offer resources for the parents of my students so that they can choose to do the same. According to Middlebrook (October 21, 2016) “previously the academy [American Academy of Pediatrics, AAP] set a general screen time limit: no more than 2 hours in front of the TV for kids over age 2.” However in today’s media environment doctor’s realized that they needed to make some changes to those guidelines. The article goes on to say:

“It doesn’t make sense to make a blanket statement [of two hours] of screen time anymore,” said Dr. Yolanda Reid Chassiakos, lead author of the “Children and Adolescents and Digital Media Technical Report” and assistant professor at UCLA. “For some children, two hours may be too much. Middlebrook (2016, October 21 )

Now the recommendations are much more specific based on age of the child. Here are some of the new guidelines from the AAP based on the age of children.

For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing. For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them. For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health. Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms. Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline. AAP (2016, October 21)

As a parent and educator I appreciate the AAP weighing in and providing some concrete guidelines based on their expertise. In all honesty, seeing the recommendation to co-view media with my children and then discuss with or explain to them what they are viewing in order to connect it the world around them is an area of growth for me. One additional resource that could be very useful would be the website healthychildren.org. There you can find tools in English or Spanish to help calculate the time your children spend using media, or the tools to create a media plan for your family.


American Academy of Pediatrics announces new recommendations for children’s media use. (2016, October 21). Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-Announces-New-Recommendations-for-Childrens-Media-Use.aspx

Family media plan. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/media/Pages/default.aspx#home

Middlebrook, Hailey. (2016, October 21). New screen time rules for kids, by doctors. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/21/health/screen-time-media-rules-children-aap/

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