Recent Updates to Media guidelines: Shared by Rayyan M. Anwer, MD, FAAP

All summary references will be listed below. 

Dr. Anwer




  •  Avoid media use in children younger than 18 to 24 months except for video chatting alongside  a parent or caregiver.
  • For children 2 to 5 years of age, limit screen time to 1 hour per day. Choose high-quality programming and refer to resources such as Common-Sense Media or Sesame Workshop for guidance. Watch these programs with your child and have a discussion on the material that was viewed after the screen time.
  • Avoid violent and fast-paced (or hyper) content, monitor all content, and test apps out first. Turn off devices when not in use. Avoid using media as a calming tool. Establish media-free zones (1 hour before bedtime*, mealtimes, and parent-child talk and play time).
  • Ensure adequate physical activity, sleep, face-to-face communication, conversations, and device-free meals.
  • Parents should limit their own electronic media use in the presence of children to increase engagement and learning opportunities.
  • Stimulating media content can certainly lead to psychomotor excitement and sleep interruption, but the more pervasive mechanism of sleep disruption seems to be the effect of blue-enriched light on melatonin secretion from the pineal gland. Even calming content viewed on electronic screens can affect melatonin secretion and disrupt healthy sleep patterns.


  • Promote adherence to healthy sleep, exercise, academic, and social habits using the American Academy of Pediatrics Family Media Use Plan (
  • Consider using screening tools for problematic Internet use and Internet Gaming Disorder* (the Internet Addiction Test, the Young of the Internet Addiction Questionnaire, the Chen Internet Addiction Scale, and the Internet Addiction Scale) when appropriate.
  • Place appropriate limits on media to mitigate negative effects and avoid reduction of healthier activities.
  • Discourage media use during homework outside of what is needed to complete the assignment. Consider placing devices in a central location so that parents can monitor device use for schoolwork. **
  • Protect bedtime. No digital media/screens for 1 hour before sleep. No devices in rooms after bedtime. Tech-savvy parents may be encouraged to use restrictive devices and apps to limit Internet access based on content or time of day.
  • Designate media-free mealtimes (dinner) and zones (bedrooms).
  • Keep other caregivers (grandparents, babysitters) aware of expectations and rules.
  • Select and co-view media with your children and focus on family and community engagement.
  • Discuss the dangers of cyberbullying and sexting.
  • Discuss online solicitation and reporting any suspicious contacts.
  • Discuss avoiding communications that can compromise personal privacy and safety.
  • Remind children to actively develop a network of trusted adults that can help them navigate social media and that they can turn to when encountering challenges.
  • Use resources on digital literacy such as those found at Common Sense Media ( to help educate your children and teens on media use.
  • Model the digital behavior you expect from your children and teens.


*Hallmarks of Internet Gaming Disorder include preoccupation with the gaming activity, decreased interest in offline or “real-life” relationships, unsuccessful attempts to decrease use, and withdrawal symptoms on reducing use of electronic media.

** Media multitasking greatly affects attention and focus. Half of all teens report that they “often” or “sometimes” watch TV (51%) or use social media (50%) while doing homework. More say they text (60%) and listen to music (76%).  Although most teens do not believe that these behaviors affect the quality of their work, extensive data suggest otherwise.



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July 2021