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Strategies to Survive Raising Children in a Screen-Saturated World

Sponsored editorial from Annapolis Pediatrics

There’s no escaping it…screens (such as smartphones, tablets, tvs, computers, gaming consoles, etc.) are a part of our world.

Why limit screen time for children?

Children who spend prolonged time on screens have an increased risk for obesity, sleep issues, delays in learning and social skills, and behavior problems.

How much screen time?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made the following recommendations:

Children under 18 to 24 monthsDr.sefanitfassil
Avoid digital media use altogether—with the exception of video chats.
At this age, children learn from interaction and two-sided communication.
Children ages 2 to 5
Limit media use to 1 hour or less per day of high-quality programming. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
Children 6 and older
Place consistent limits on the time spent using media, the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.
Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.
Work with your family to set limits that prioritize health-promoting activities such as physical activity, sleep, family meals, school and friends over media use.
And keep in mind, that even 1 ½ to 2 hours a day may be too much screen time for many children.

How to help tame screen time?

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently developed an interactive tool called The Family Media Plan. This plan can be personalized to meet each family’s needs. To set up a Family Media Plan, visit: https://www.healthychildren.org/MediaUsePlan.

Children need to have adequate sleep, physical activity, and time away from media. By setting limits and establishing guidelines for screen time, as well as balancing time online and offline, parents can help keep their children healthy and active.

Dr. Sefanit Fassil has been a pediatrician with Annapolis Pediatrics since 2005. Dr. Fassil received her undergraduate degree from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame and her MD from the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Annapolis Pediatrics can be reached at 410.263.6363 or annapolispediatrics.com

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