In a newly revised policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents make a media use plan for their families that takes into account not only the quantity but the quality and location of media used, and includes mealtime and bedtime curfews for media devices. It also encourages keeping all screen media (TVs, computers, tablets, etc.) out of kids' bedrooms.
The group reiterates its recommendation to limit the amount of total entertainment screen time to less than two hours a day (not including media used in the classroom or for homework) and to discourage all screen media exposure for children under age 2.
A new, nationally representative survey from the nonprofit advocacy group Common Sense Media, also out today, shows 72 percent of kids ages 8 and under have used a mobile device for some type of media activity such as playing games, watching videos or using apps, up from 38 percent just two years ago. And 17 percent of these young children use a mobile device on a daily basis.
"We are worried that a lot of parents are clueless about their kids' media use and how to manage it appropriately," says Victor Strasburger, a professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico and co-author of the AAP policy statement, released at the group's national conference in Orlando, Fla.
They are "spending more time with media than they are in school. They are spending more time with media than in any activity other than sleeping. You could make the argument that media have taken over the primary role of teaching kids from schools and parents in many cases," says Strasburger.