New Screen User Program
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under the age of 18 months age avoid the use of screen time other than activities such as video-chatting with family members. The AAP also recommends that children between 18 and 24 months have very limited exposure to screens and that parents should look for high quality programs. Parents are also advised to watch these programs with their young children.
Generally, children between the ages of 2 to 5 would be considered New Screen Users. This is the age group where children start to watch programs more on a smartphone or tablet and probably will begin to play some games as well. These children generally haven’t been exposed too much to screens and parents have the perfect opportunity to teach them to be responsible screen users from the beginning.
One of the most important things that parents can do for their New Screen Users is to model responsible screen behavior. Being a responsible screen user does not mean avoiding screens all the time. For many of us, our smartphone, tablet or computer are crucial to our jobs, so using screens for work is a responsible use of screens. Using screens to check the weather, look up addresses, or other information are also responsible screen uses. Screen activities such as playing games, shopping or checking social media are not good uses of screens. A good rule of thumb is that when you are with your children, only use your screens when it is needed.
The AAP recommends that children in this age group be limited to 1 hour of screen time per day. The Responsible Screens App is a very effective tool that can help parents limit smartphone and tablet time for New Screen Users. The App gives the parents the opportunity to decide when their young children can use their devices from the beginning. Children will learn that they have a schedule and it will be normal right from the start. Also remember that for non-screen time, you should look for activities to do together. It is also very important to be consistent with your child’s schedule. For some non-screen activity ideas, click here.
In summary, it is much easier to teach your children from the beginning to be responsible screen users. Children who are self-responsible can avoid many of the problems that can happen with uncontrolled screen use.
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