Times are a changing…
A recent article on Forbes.com (full article here) argued that screens are a part of the modern world. Worrying about your children being exposed to screens is like worrying about them being exposed to indoor plumbing, or cars, or the written word.
I completely agree. Screens are everywhere: above the dentist’s chair, in our pockets, at the grocery store. They’re a part of our lives. They are evidence of human innovation and progress. We need to get past the old-age thinking of screen time as bad or scary, and into the depths of how can I use this powerful technology to help my child grow and thrive in a modern world.
Because like it or not. That’s where we live.
You know that saying… “with great power comes great responsibility”? It applies here. Media has great potential to expose us to new ideas, current issues, and increase global connection.
That’s great power.
But it also has the potential to destroy our lives if not monitored and controlled. It can replace critical elements of a healthy life- sleep, social interaction, healthy relationships, exercise, and on and on.
As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recently revised their recommendations on screen time and media use. (You can see the full policy statement here.)
I love their new recommendations. It fits right in with the feelings of my heart.
Every family is different. And every situation is different. This policy reflects that. They don’t provide a one-type fits all approach. Their website let’s you create your own media plan- a la carte style. You can even create a different plan for each child. Check it out. I think it’ll spark some ideas for your family.
Here are the key recommendations from the AAP:
- Create a media plan (see their website) which includes:
- Address what type and how much media are used and what media behaviors are appropriate for each individual. Place consistent limits on hours per day of media use.
- Make sure your kids are getting at least 1 hour of physical activity each day.
- Make sure they are getting enough sleep (8-12 hours depending on age)
- Create media-free times together. Put those electronics away for dinner!
- Create media-free rooms in your home (BEDROOMS!!!)
- Promote activities in your family that provide talking, exercise, and playing
- Communicate all these guidelines to caregivers and extended family members
- Co-view media with your child. Interact with them during media viewing, choose media content together. Share the experience.
- Teach them proper online etiquette and behaviors
- Develop a network of trusted adults (coaches, family, etc) who can engage with the child through social media
So no longer are they recommending a set limit on screen time. That is up to YOU as the parents to determine. But your kids still need your parenting- they need limits and rules.
Head on over to their website and create your own media plan. This can be your first step to finding balance and peace in your parenting in the modern world.