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Pediatricians update digital media recommendations for kids

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It’s not so bad to hand your child an iPad once in a while depending on how it’s used. Playing a game together or Skyping with Grandma? That’s OK. Helping your little one calm down or trying to keep peace in the house? Not so much.

New guidelines announced by the American Academy of Pediatrics today say parents not only need to pay attention to the amount of time children spend on digital media — but also how, when and where they use it.

For children ages 2 to 5, media should be limited to one hour a day, the statement says, and it should involve high-quality programming or something parents and kids can view or engage with together. With the exception of video-chatting, digital media should also be avoided in children younger than 18 months old.

“Digital media has become an inevitable part of childhood for many infants, toddlers and preschoolers, but research is limited on how this affects their development,” says one of the lead authors of the statement Jenny Radesky, M.D., a developmental behavioral expert and pediatrician at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Radesky coauthored the statement for children ages 0-5 with Dimitri A. Christakis, M.D., M.P.H., of Seattle Children’s Hospital. The AAP also put out a separate policy statement the same day for older kids (ages 6 to teenage).

“In children over three, the research is solid: high-quality programs like Sesame Street can teach kids new ideas. However, under three, toddlers’ immature brains have a hard time transferring what they see on a screen to real-life knowledge,” Radesky says. “We don’t yet know if interactivity helps or hinders that process.”

“What we do know is that early childhood is a time of rapid brain development, when children need time to play, sleep, learn to handle emotions, and build relationships. Research still suggests that excessive media use can get in the way of these important activities. Our statement highlights ways families and pediatricians can help manage a healthy balance.”

Why limit screen time

Too much time using digital media in the wrong way is linked to children’s quality of sleep, child development and physical health, the statement notes. (Heavy media use in preschool is associated with small but significant increases in body mass index.)

Read more at : https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161021093834.htm

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