Oct. 21, 2016. The AAP Makes a Strong Stand for Screen Time Limits for Young Children

Josh Golin (CCFC), 617-896-9369, josh@commercialfreechildhood.org

For Immediate Release

AAP Makes a Strong Stand for Screen Time Limits for Young Children
CCFC’s Statement on The Academy’s “Media and Young Minds”

Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued two important new policy statements about children’s media use: “Media and Young Minds,” which covers children 0-5, and “Media Use in School Age Children and Adolescents.” Below is the response of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s Executive Director Josh Golin to “Media and Young Minds.” 

The American Academy of Pediatrics has reaffirmed and strengthened its crucial stance that babies, toddlers, and preschoolers benefit from strict screen time limits. The new policy statement recommends that babies not use screens – with the reasonable exception of video chats with relatives – until at least the age of 18 months. The Academy clearly states screen time should be limited to one hour or less for children 2-5 years old, down from 1-2 hours per day in its previous statement.  

The new statement also includes clear, evidence-based practical recommendations to help families and practitioners navigate today’s vast and often overwhelming digital landscape. These recommendations include screen-free meals, no screen use an hour before bedtime, avoiding using media as a calming method, and prioritizing “hands-on, unstructured, and social play.” Families and early educators who feel pressured to introduce screens early will welcome the AAP’s reassurance that delaying introduction will not cause children to fall behind. 

The statement also includes important recommendations for the media industry. The AAP admonishes app makers to “cease making apps for children younger than 18 months until evidence of benefit is demonstrated.” The Academy also says it is “unethical” to include advertising in apps for kids five and younger, because young children cannot distinguish between advertising and programming.