Beacon Transcript – As technology is marking new breakthrough and getting increasingly more relevant in the day to day lives of people, parents and specialists have been wondering if children shouldn’t, in fact, have a limited digital interaction.
As the question has been floating around for quite some time and has managed to spark debates and initiate studies, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a series of official recommendation in the online edition of the Pediatrics Journal, on October 20.
The AAP recommendation had in its lead Dr. Megan Moreno, Seattle’s Children Hospital’s associate professor of pediatrics.
The statement sets a series of guidelines that should help parents, and families in general, decide how much time each member, be it child or adult, should spend in front of a digital device.
It also advises that each family set its own individual set of rules, offers examples for such cases, and indicates the eventual misgivings and measures that should be followed.
According to Dr. Moreno, any such plan and daily activities schedule should be thought out so as to establish a balance between activities. The use of media devices should not impose on the time spent doing healthy activities such as sleeping and exercising, nor or family time or other recreational methods.
As each family member should be able to decide together or on their own how this program will best be divided, the recommendations do suggest a set of limitations.
For example, children under the age of 18 months should not be exposed to other digital media besides, probably, video-chatting with relatives.
Also, children aged 2 to 5 should not engage in more than an hour of digital interactions, and they should in any case be quality programs that, in the best case scenario, could also include the parents.
As the children’s age increases, they should too have some limitation, but specialists argue that so should parents. They should also respect the no digital rules they impose on their children, and should also stop using such devices as a means of distracting small children.
The recommendations are more inclusive than previous as they do not place digital media and information as a necessarily bad medium, its positive attribute being taken into consideration.
The statement has also included an online tool, the Family Media Use Plan, which should help families develop their own individual systems in terms of digital interaction and media usage.
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