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The Discussion About Screen Time For Kids Just Got A Lot More Nuanced

The American Academy of Pediatrics has finally admitted it’s unrealistic for anyone to abide by their old “avoid it” guidelines on screen time for kids, which was written in the days when a Saturday morning overdose of Doug Funny was their biggest fear. Now that screens are inescapable, the AAP has issued some new advice to help families living in the modern world. But that doesn’t mean you can suddenly outsource parenting to your favorite YouTube star — quite the opposite, actually. Because screens are part of everyday life, the parenting necessary to control their usage becomes more nuanced.

“In a world where ‘screen time’ is becoming simply ‘time,’ our policies must evolve or become obsolete,” the AAP writes, admitting that their previous policy of suggesting no screen time for children under the age of 2 and only 2 hours of screen time for kids over 2 is no longer practical. Though they’ve boiled their new advice down to 12 bullet points, the most salient one is probably the first: “Media is just another environment. Children do the same things they have always done, only virtually,” says the AAP. “Like any environment, media can have positive and negative effects.” Pretty much all of the rest of the advice falls under this umbrella: Use similar judgement in the virtual world as you would in the real world. It should be noted that this advice isn’t an official new policy on screen time. That requires gobs of research, and isn’t expected until sometime next year. In the meantime, take their advice to spend virtual time with your kids the same way you would spend real time. “Play a video game with your kids,” the APP suggests, without realizing how bad you’re going to kick your kid’s ass in Mario Kart?

( Via Forbes)