My kids just got their own laptop for Christmas. What is the recommended amount of screen time for kids?
A new year brings a lot of excitement, new opportunities, and maybe even some new technology in your home. While a new computer or tablet can be a great new resource to a family, it also means thinking about the challenges that can arise.
Screen time is an issue that all parents need to consider. There are so many great websites and apps for children, but it isn’t healthy for kids to be all tech all the time. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that children under 5 should have less than 1 hour of sedentary screen time. Children under two should have no screen time with the exception of video chatting with family members. As a child nears the age of two, parents can start introducing high quality media that they are watching with their child. Screen time may include TV, watching videos, playing video games, apps on an iPad or iPhone.
For children 5 and up there is no set guideline for time, but it is important to have set limits for children of all ages with a balance of activities. I recommend limited screen time for kids so that there is a balance of physical activities and family time. Set expectations for all family members around screens during meals and family events. Also, when choosing screen activities help children choose activities in which they are creators and not just consumers. If your child is using their device to learn and create, then they are engaging their mind as well as using the device.
There are so many websites and apps that encourage children to be learners and creators, but here are some of my favorites. For learning games for younger children, I recommend PBS Kids and Starfall. Starfall does require an annual fee for the full subscription, but is a great resource for pre and beginning readers. For older children, I recommend National Geographic Kids, Scholastic and Sheppard Software. Some beginning creation apps that I recommend exploring include Code.org which introduces students to coding and WeVideo, which is a web based video editor which students can use to create their own videos.
Visit American Academy of Pediatrics for more information about screen time for kids guidelines.
Hope Mulholland is the iCAMP Curriculum Director and a Technology Integration Specialist.