Digital media usage should be limited for #Children, according to two pediatricians in Seattle, who have come up with some new recommended guidelines for parents. According to them, video chat with grandparents and #Family is fine, but sitting with eyes glued to the technology for hours is definitely not a good thing. Parents must ensure there is balance between the children's use of technology and their normal, healthy life.

Most kids these days either have a #Smartphone or a tablet they use for learning and games and many parents have wondered whether this is OK. On Friday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released guidelines for parents, co-authored by two pediatricians.

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According to Medical News Today, these guidelines state that parents should monitor their children’s usage of the technology right from the start. Up to the age of two, children should not be exposed to digital media, except for video chatting with grandma or other family members. Between the ages of 18 and 24 months, children should only use high-quality tech, and only in the company of parents or caregivers. From the age of two to five years, children should be limited to one hour of digital media use per day.

Digital media limitation for small children

According to the experts, too much digital media usage, or the wrong kind of content, can badly effect children’s health and development, as well as interfering with their relationship with their family and friends. One of the authors of the report, a pediatrician and researcher at Seattle Children’s Hospital is Dr. Dimitri Christakis, who stressed that any children under two should not be using digital media, except for the odd video chat with family.

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Christakis stressed that babies need “laps more than apps.”

Children aged from two to five years were previously recommended to limit their access to technology to two hours, but this has now been cut to only one hour per day and this should be in the company of their parents or caregivers. The reasoning for this is that while children over the age of three learn new concepts from using technology, younger children’s brains are not fully developed enough to relate what they see on the screen with the real world.

Christakis went on to stress that parents should avoid using smartphones or other digital media to distract or calm their children, saying kids need to learn to “self-regulate their emotions.”

Normal life versus digital media usage

As reported by the Seattle Times, the second author, Dr. Megan Moreno of Seattle Children’s Research Institute, said that with children between the ages of six and 18, parents need to be more proactive.

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While not setting any limits on the usage of digital media, Moreno stressed that parents and caregivers should work out a family plan for its usage, while keeping it as only one component of a normal, healthy life.

Care must be taken to ensure children have adequate physical exercise, sleep and family interaction. Recommendations include banning the use of digital media during meals and keeping those screens switched off for at least an hour before bedtime. Smartphones and other devices should be banned from the children’s bedrooms, as research has shown they interfere with the kids’ normal sleep patterns. Reportedly digital media usage has also been linked to obesity in children and there are signs that it can also affect the child’s development.

The final recommendation by the experts was for the parents to also monitor their own digital media usage when around the children, calling it “distracted parenting.” Christakis said that you cannot parent as well while checking your phone.