Kids spend hours each day being consumed by media, whether it be on television, smart phones, iPads or elsewhere. Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics put out a new set of guidelines aimed at managing teens’ and children’s media use.
Media can contribute to several health risks, the pediatricians say, but it can also be a helpful, learning tool.
“A healthy approach to children’s media use should both minimize potential health risks and foster appropriate and positive media use—in other words, it should promote a healthy ‘media diet’,” said Marjorie Hogan, MD, FAAP, co-author of the AAP policy. “Parents, educators and pediatricians should participate in media education, which means teaching children and adolescents how to make good choices in their media consumption.”
The AAP notes that excessive media use has been associated with obesity, lack of sleep, school problems, aggression and other behavior issues and advocates for more research about how media affects youth.
It should also be noted that 8 to 10-year-olds spend an average of 8 hours a day with different media, and teens spend more than 11 hours a day. It’s not just screen time that is a concern, but content.
“For nearly three decades, the AAP has expressed concerns about the amount of time that children and teen-agers spend with media, and about some of the content they are viewing,” said Victor Strasburger, MD, FAAP, co-author of the report. “The digital age has only made these issues more pressing.”
The AAP recommends parents do the following: