Recent Updates to Media guidelines: Shared by Rayyan M. Anwer, MD, FAAP
All summary references will be listed below.
ANTICIPATORY GUIDANCE FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN AGES 0 TO 5 YEARS:
- 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.
ANTICIPATORY GUIDANCE FOR SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS:
- Promote adherence to healthy sleep, exercise, academic, and social habits using the American Academy of Pediatrics Family Media Use Plan (www.HealthyChildren.org/MediaUsePlan)
- 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 (www.commonsense.org) 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.