We use technology every day to connect with others, to look up information, to gather new ideas, or to have fun. Therefore, it may not be too surprising that nearly every child under 8 in America (98 percent) has access to a mobile device at home, and youth represent one in three internet users worldwide, according to the website Common Sense.

With screens so easily accessible, it is important for parents and caregivers to become knowledgeable and provide guidance on their child’s usage. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:

  • For children under 2 years old, screen time should be very limited and only used when an adult is co-viewing or talking, for example, video chatting.
  • For children18 months to 2 years have parents watch high-quality media with their child.
  • For children, 2-5 years old limit screen use to one hour, and co-viewing with your child is recommended.
  • Children, 6 years and older have consistent limits on the time and types of media used and ensure it does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity, and other healthy behaviors.

To help families set limits around screen usage, the American Academy of Pediatrics has developed an online tool, Family Media Plan, to help you personalize goals and rules for your family. Click Here to go to the site. 

The following are additional tips to help you manage your child’s screen time:

  • Be informed. Know who your child’s online and offline friends are. Talk to your child about the dangers of predators and encourage them to come to you if something makes them uncomfortable.
  • Monitor sites. Learn the sites your children are visiting and whether they are appropriate. Click Here to visit Common Sense Media to learn about a movie, video game, book, or app’s content and age recommendation.
  • Young children learn through exploration and using their senses. Provide your child with the real objects they see or hear on their screen. Explore how the object looks, feels, sounds, tastes, and moves to promote your child’s thinking and language skills.
  • Children learn through conversations. Talk to your child about what they are seeing. Ask questions to learn about their ideas and own experiences, “Has that happened to you?” or “What would you do?”
  • Be active while watching. One of the disadvantages of screen time is lack of movement, therefore take advantage of opportunities to move. If your child sees an animal, move like the animal with your child or if there is dancing, get up and dance.
  • Show your child they matter. It is very easy to get distracted by our phones and screens. When interacting with your child, model putting your phone or devise away and spending one on one uninterrupted time together.
  • Provide alternative activities. Instead of using the screen to occupy your child, brainstorm other ways to spend their free time, such as building with blocks, creating with playdough or art materials, reading, dancing, or cooking with you.
  • Create screen-free zones. Do not allow screen usage during meal times and in bedrooms. Turn off screens one hour before bedtime to promote sleep.

Technology provides us with wonderful ways to connect and learn. By staying informed and involved with our children, we can provide them with the guidance and limits they need.

For additional information on media usage, visit Healthy

Source: Common Sense website,

Healthy Healthy Digital Media Use Habits for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers

Healthy; Kids & Tech: Tips for Parents in the Digital Age


Child Care Aware® of Eastern Kansas |

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