It’s becoming more common than ever to see children glued to bright screens, tapping away on their devices. While becoming completely connected to their online world, they often become disconnected from reality. Many parents are thankful for technology providing endless entertainment to their young ones, but many experts are concerned of the effects.
Media exposure plays an increasing role in the lives of infants and toddlers, despite the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations. A recent 2015 study showed by the age of 1, 92.2% of children have already used a digital device, while by the age of 2, most children are using mobile devices on a daily basis.4
The time spent on a screen dramatically increases as children age. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 8 to 10 year olds spend 8 hours a day on various digital media mediums, while teenagers spend 11 hours in front of screens.4 This constant connection to media has resulted in over 50% of adolescents feeling addicted to their phones, according to a 2016 survey.1
Technology now no longer ends at just television and movies, but also texting, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, video games, virtual reality, tablets, vlogs, blogs and more. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recognized this constant wiring to technology contributing to the reduction of free play time available for children. Only about 10% of children are spending time outdoors every day6 and 1 in 2 kids worldwide spends less than an hour outside a day – less than Prisoners at a U.S maximum security facility! 3
The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes outdoor play as an important role in child development, contributing to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children and youth.2 Play in a natural outdoor environment provides children with opportunities for self-directed physical activity, promoting physical health, reducing obesity, and let’s not forget getting their vitamin D!
Listed below are some recommendations from the AAP around technology use. 5
- Limit the amount of total entertainment screen time to <1 to 2 hours per day.
- Discourage screen media exposure for children <2 years of age.
- Keep the TV set and internet connected electronic devices out of the child’s bedroom
- Monitor what media children are using and accessing, including any web sites they are visiting and social media sites they may be using.
- Model active parenting by establishing a family home use plan for all media. As part of the plan, enforce a mealtime and bedtime “curfew” for media devices, including cell phones. Establish reasonable but firm rules about cell phones, texting, internet and social media use.
Think your child might not be getting enough time in the sun? Click here to take our quiz!
1 Chassiakos, Y. R. (2016). Technical report on youths’ digital media use answers 25
clinical questions. http://www.aappublications.org/news/2016/10/21/DigitalMedia102116
2 Ginsburg, K. (2006). No Child Left Inside: Reconnecting Kids with the
Outdoors. American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/federal-advocacy/Documents/NoChildLeftInside-ReconnectingKidswiththeOutdoors.pdf.
3 Martinko, K. (2016, March). Children spend less time outside than prison inmates.
4 Reid Chassiakos Y, Radesky J, Christakis D, et al., AAP COUNCIL ON
COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA. Children and Adolescents and Digital Media.
Pediatrics. 2016;138(5): e20162593 https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2016/10/19/peds.2016-2593.full.pdf
5 Strasburger, V. C., & Hogan, M. J. (2013). Children, Adolescents and the
Media. American Academy of Pediatrics.
6 The Nature Conservancy. (n.d.). Retrieved from