How much screen time is your child getting?
This week in the Globe and Mail it was reported that according to the American Academy of Paediatrics, kids 2 and younger should be “screen free” as much as possible and those exposed to excessive amounts of media may experience developmental problems. In 1999, the group recommended limited amounts of screen time, but since then a body of evidence has emerged to support the AAP’s initial belief that the negative effects of media exposure outweighed the positive. They also suggest that video programs that are marketed as “educational” show no evidence to support that claim. The report goes to state that more worrisome is that children who consume media under two can also pose behavioural and developmental problems. “Television around bedtime can cause poor sleep habits and irregular sleep schedules, which can adversely affect mood, behaviour and learning.” Also, “young children with heavy media use are at risk for delays in language development once they start school.” Their suggestion for toddlers – max 1 hour.
So, what do we do with this information? At Parenting Power, we would suggest you use it first, to increase you awareness of the impacts and then to make the necessary changes in your home that are needed. It is not about beating ourselves up if we know already know our children are in front of a screen at too young of an age or for too long – but accepting where we are as a family and knowing we can set up expectations/guidelines in our home to move forward in a positive direction that best meets the developmental needs of our children. As a first step we encourage you to increase your awareness of what is realistically happening in your home right now by charting/recording what IS actually happening around screen time in your home on a day to day basis, for a week. You may be pleasantly surprised at how well you are doing, or see a need for a change. Awareness and acceptance is a good place to start.