Why the American Academy of Pediatrics May Allow Screen Time for Babies – TIME
The American Academy of Pediatrics is reconsidering its digital exposure guidelines for children for the first time in more than 15 years.
â€œIn a world where â€˜screen timeâ€™ is becoming simply â€˜time,â€™ our policies must evolve or become obsolete,â€ the AAPâ€™s media committee wrote in a post on the groupâ€™s website accompanying a report.
The authors of the post acknowledge that much has changed in the past few years and that their blanket â€œno screensâ€ policy for children below 2 might not be valid any more. â€œCase in point: The 2011 AAP policy statement Media Use by Children Younger Than Two Years was drafted prior to the first generation iPad and explosion of apps aimed at young children,â€ the academy wrote in the post. In a related paper, the group goes on to call the term â€œscreen timeâ€ an antiquated term.
This is a remarkable departure for the Academy, which had earlier set aside stringent limits on how much screen time children had to digital products, recommending none for toddlers under the age of 2 and a maximum of two hours per day for those kids above 2.
Today, apps on iPads are specifically created to target educational programs to tots and have been praised by educators as key to establishing everything from social habits to sparking academic development in preschool children. That said, messages have been mixed regarding the safety and usefulness of childrenâ€™s screen time. While a 2013 survey from Common Sense Media found that 38% of children below the age of 2 had accessed a mobile device, the AAPâ€™s media committee avoided commenting on whether 2-year-olds should use iPads in 2011, with a pediatrician saying, â€œWe just donâ€™t have the data yet.â€
That said, the AAPâ€™s upcoming guidelines will be carefully constructed to reflect quality over quantity. The post emphasized that while a digital life was a fact of modern day life, limits should be set for children and that tech-free zones should be encouraged, integrating play time.
The AAPâ€™s note expands to make one old-fashioned caveat clear. â€œParenting has not changed,â€ the authors write. â€œThe same parenting rules apply to your childrenâ€™s real and virtual environments. Play with them. Set limits; kids need and expect them. Teach kindness. Be involved. Know their friends and where they are going with them.â€
The group hopes to release the revised guidelines in time for the start of the 2016 school year.