LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Children today are growing up in a digital world, and it's unclear for many parents where they should draw the line when it comes to screen time.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is set to recommended children under the 2 of two not be allowed to use digital devices. They have said older kids should have no more than two hours of screen time per day.
But as technology increasingly infiltrates our everyday lives and the tools we use to live them, it's getting harder for families to unplug so they can stay connected to each other. The AAP announced this week they are tweaking their guidelines to adjust to the changing norm.
WEIGH IN: Do you agree with AAP's screen time limits? What kind of boundaries do you set for your kids? CBSLA would like to hear from you in the comments section at the end of this article.
The AAP says their recommendations for parents will stress setting limits. Parents should not only encourage off-screen playtime, they should also keep tech devices and phones away from the table during meals and out of the kids' rooms while they sleep. Doctors say this will help kids learn the value of face-to-face communication, develop their language skills and sleep uninterrupted.
Very young children learn best through dialogue so that verbal interaction is crucial. The AAP acknowledges that that need can indeed be met on-screen, via a video chat with a relative for example, but usually requires in-person interaction.
Be a good role model, pediatricians advise. Limit your own media use, teach your kids to be kind online and be an attentive parent.
Encourage using apps and games that support learning, the AAP says. There are more than 80,000 apps that market themselves as educational but look into the game and see if that's really what it delivers. Parents.com recommends checking out reviews on Common Sense Media for appropriate apps and programs.
Don't be afraid to pick up a controller and play a video game with your child, pediatricians say. Not only does it earn you points for being a cool parent but you also can show them what good sportsmanship looks like. (That's right, that means you shouldn't throw down the remote or storming off in a huff if you lose a game.)
The AAP says it's OK for teens to be online but parents should be tapped in: make sure your teen is behaving appropriately, that you know who their friends are (both online and off) and that you make them aware you're there to answer any questions or concerns.
Finally, your children may - scratch that, they will definitely - make mistakes when it comes to social media and their online interactions. Don't be too hard on them, and use them as "teachable moments," Parents.com writes. If you find your child sexting or posting that they are going to hurt themselves or others, make sure you address it immediately and look into whether it's symptomatic of a larger psychological issue.
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