It's important to teach children how to balance online an offline life, because kids today spend more time engaged with media than they do in any activity other than sleeping . And who can blame them? The online world is loaded with interesting and entertaining activities designed to capture and hold our attention.
Research shows that young people look to adult role models to learn how to conduct their online lives , so adults should remember to be mindful of their own time with digital media. Achieving a healthy balance between online and offline activities is a lifelong skill that we can all learn and practice together.
1. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Policy Statement, 2010.
2. Lenhart, A., et al., (2011). Teens, kindness and cruelty on social networks. Pew Internet & American Life Project, (2011).
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We recommend following the media use guidelines put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
0 to 2. For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they're seeing.
2 to 5. For children 2 to 5, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
6 & up. For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.
Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.