It’s OK to let your kids have some screen time, says expert


Experts release guidelines of how much times young children should spend on phones or tablets

Today’s Parent editor says you don’t have to take away gadgets altogether

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Screen time is one of the great debates for parents these days. How much time should you allow your child to watch TV, or play on a tablet or your smartphone? There are so many different reports out there these days and it can be confusing.

Now, the Canadian Pediatric Society has now released its first stand-alone recommendations for how much time children aged five and under should spend in front of a screen.

It’s standing by its past statement that kids younger than two-years-old should completely avoid screen time. A recent survey of its members found that parents are increasingly asking family doctors and pediatricians for advice on shifts in the digital culture. The society recommends toddlers aged two to five should watch no more than one hour of screen time per day — and turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime.

However, being in front of a screen isn’t all that bad. Jill Buchner, senior health editor at Today’s Parent, says it’s about being smart about managing the time spent. “For parents feeling a little bit overly cautious and don’t know what’s best for their kids, it’s a good idea to actually sit down and watch the videos that your kids are watching or play the apps with them. Talk to them about the content they are consuming.”

A recent British study found watching television for more than three hours each day is associated with poorer language skills in 11-year-old children. However, the same study found most five-year-olds can watch up to three hours of television a day with few ill effects on their language skills. “There could be some benefits to them interacting with educational apps.” suggests Buchner, which is why she thinks many there aren’t too many experts taking issue with screen time for kids over the age of two. “Really in this day and age it’s inevitable that kids are going to come into contact with technology at some point. It’s become a learning tool.”

While it’s always better for kids to be playing outside and being active, Buchner adds there’s no reason parents should cut out screen time entirely, especially a little bit later in childhood.


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