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Surprising Science

Pediatricians’ New Recommendation: Two Hours’ Screen Time Maximum

It’s one of several new guidelines provided last week by the American Academy of Pediatrics that are designed to address the problems associated with excessive media use, including obesity and sleep deprivation.

What’s the Latest Development?

Last week the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) unveiled new guidelines for parents who are wondering how much screen time is too much: In general, when it comes to entertainment for children over the age of 2, their total exposure to televisions, computers, tablets, and smartphones should be restricted to two hours a day. In addition, they should not be allowed to keep TVs and Internet-capable devices in their bedrooms. To help reinforce the rules, parents should participate as well, says AAP spokesperson Donald L. Shifrin: “If you go to any restaurant, Family 3.0 is Mom and Dad are on their devices and the kids are on theirs. Who is talking to each other?”

What’s the Big Idea?

The AAP and other organizations have been warning against excessive media use for decades, but advances in technology have caused them to grow more insistent. Policy co-author Marjorie Hogan says the evidence of too much screen time can be seen in “obesity [rates], poor school performance, aggression and lack of sleep.” According to a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation report, children between the ages of 8 and 18 spent more than 7.5 hours per day entertaining themselves via media in 2009, and two-thirds of them said they had no adult-imposed time restrictions on their media consumption.

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Read it at The Wall Street Journal


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