As a parent, you can help decrease the harmful effects of digital media. You can keep track of the type of programming and limit your child's screen time. Here are some tips for setting good viewing habits:
Choose programs for your child to watch. Always plan what your child will be watching. Don't turn on a viewing device randomly. Give choices between 2 programs you think are appropriate for your child.
Limit screen time to 1 or 2 hours a day for children older than 2 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children younger than 2 years should not watch digital media.
Turn to educational shows from the local Public Broadcasting Station (PBS), or from programming such as the Discovery Channel, Learning Channel, or History Channel.
Watch programs with your child. Talk about what happened on the show. Talk about what was good or bad about the program. Talk about the difference between reality and make-believe.
Turn off the TV or other device if the program is something you believe your child should not see.
Don't assume all cartoons are acceptable and appropriate. Many cartoons contain violence.
Many daytime programs, such as soap operas and talk shows, are not appropriate for children.
Be a good example to your child by not watching too much TV or digital media yourself. Limit your own screen time. Be involved in other activities, especially reading. Read to your child.
Encourage play and exercise for your child. Plan other fun activities for your child, so they have choices instead of screen time.
Limit screen time as a reward for good behavior. Try a trip to the park, a festival, playground, or a visit to a relative's or friend's house instead.
Don't allow screen time during meals.
Publication Source:Children, Adolescents, and the Media. Strasburger V. Pediatrics. 2013;132(5):958-61.
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2022
Date Last Modified: 4/29/2022
Date Posted: 9/15/2023