Kids spend more time engaging with media than any other activity except sleeping. This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines urging parents to restrict their kids’ media time to two hours per day.
Between traditional radio and television, texting, social media like Facebook and Instagram, video like YouTube, music, and the many movies, TV shows, and other content available on the Internet, children ages 8 to 18 spent over 7½ hours a day consuming media – and that was back in 2009. The numbers are even higher today.
Excessive media use is associated with cyber-bullying, obesity, poor school performance, aggression, and lack of sleep," the study notes…and this does not even take into account the harmful influence of the media content the kids are watching.
"I guarantee you that if you have a 14-year-old boy and he has an Internet connection in his bedroom, he is looking at pornography," says the policy’s lead author, Dr. Victor Strasburger.
The guidelines urge parents to have a no-device rule during meals and after bedtime, and to set rules on which web and social media sites can be visited, who can be called, and requiring parents have access to all their children’s passwords and social media accounts. The policy also repeats the AAP's existing recommendations: Kids shouldn’t have TVs or Internet-accessible devices in their bedrooms, and should be limited limit the amount of screen time for entertainment to less than two hours per day of screen time for entertainment. Children under age 2 shouldn't have any TV or Internet exposure at all.
With more and more graphic sex, violence, and language deluging entertainment, there is all the more reason for parents to be concerned about their children’s exposure to media.
To read the AAP’s full media plan, click here