Doctors Urge Limits on Children's Screen Times

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October 25, 2016

Screens should not dominate children's lives, according to new guidelines from a group of doctors.

The guidelines are from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and offer suggestions for how much time children spend in front of a TV screen or a computer screen or even a portable device screen. For children 18 months and younger, the recommended time is zero minutes, except for video chatting, because babies can be vulnerable to overstimulation from a screen's lights and sounds and that could result in sleep problems. The AAP specified that screen time included the use of screens by parents when their children are nearby.

The guidelines updated the previous recommendations, which specified a limit for children over 2 to two hours. The guidelines also specified that use of media for education purposes, such as studying, did not count as screen time. The limit is for use of screens for entertainment.

The recommended screen time allowed for children ages 2–5 is one hour. The parents of children over 6 should use their own judgment in setting limits on screen time for entertainment, the AAP said.

The AAP released the guidelines at a national conference of 10,000 pediatricians in San Francisco. Also discussed were social media and cyberbullying.

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