Screen Time for Children

Sesame Workshop

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With a son who is 12 days aways from being 6 months old, I read with interest this article from MashableChildren’s Consumption of Digital Media On The Rise [STATS]. This connected me with the original study from The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, which you can find in PDF form with this link. Straight from this document are some of their findings:

  • Children have more access to all kinds of digital media, and are spending more time during the day with them than ever before.
  • Television continues to exert a strong hold over young children, who spend more time with this medium than any other.
  • Not all children have access to newer digital technologies, nor do all children use media in the same ways once they do own them. Family income continues to be a barrier to some children owning technology, even as the price of devices falls.
  • Lower-income, Hispanic, and African American children consume far more media than their middle-class and white counterparts.
  • Children appear to shift their digital media habits around age 8, when they increasingly open their eyes to the wide world of media beyond television.
  • Mobile media appears to be the next “it” technology, from handheld video games to portable music players to cell phones. Kids like to use their media on the go.

The official recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics is as follows:

“The first two years of your child’s life are especially important in the growth and development of her brain. During this time, children need positive interaction with other children and adults. This is especially true at younger ages, when learning to talk and play with others is so important.

Until more research is done about the effects of screen time on very young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages television viewing for children ages two years old or younger, and encourages interactive play.

For older children, the Academy advises no more than one to two hours per day of educational, nonviolent programs, which should be supervised by parents or other responsible adults in the home.”

Our son has had his eye caught by screens from time to time. We are definitely going to stay away from intentional screen time of any kind for him until at least two years old.

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