Happy holiday season to everyone. This topic will serve for the next two weeks given the holiday block. As most kids are now out of school for the holidays, and all of those media devices are being purchased for young ones this Christmas, now is a great time to revisit media screening and counseling! A big thank you to one of our local experts Dr. Pooja Tandon for lending her expertise in reviewing and updating this topic for us.
Materials to review for the holiday weeks:
Take-home points to review on media for youth:
- Media exposure for youth is significant with quantity and quality important for us to address.
- The 2 most important questions to ask our families in clinic are: 1) How much screen media is your child exposed to every day? 2) Does your child have a TV or internet-connected device in the bedroom?
- Parents should be encouraged to set limits on screen time – this is less often done among low income families. Children whose parents make an effort to limit media use (through the home media environment and rules about screen time) spend less time with media than their peers.
- Based on guidance from the AAP, we recommend no screen time for children under 2 (even apps!) and a limit of 2 hours per day for older children. If parents do allow more (a reality!), at least help them select more educational/prosocial media (like PBS shows such as Sesame Street).
- TVs in the bedroom (and other media that are connected to the internet) are associated with some of the most concerning negative effects on health. Counsel early about media to help prevent the placement of TV’s in the bedroom (which is over 50% by age 2-4 among low-income families).
Good luck providing some balanced counter messages about healthy media use this holiday season!