The group that is representing the pediatricians of Canada is urging parents to minimize screen exposure for young children. The recommendation also encouraged that the kids receive more active play and spending time with their families as opposed to simply sitting and watching a screen.
The Canadian Paediatric Society issued a new statement on Thursday where they recommend that doctors advise parents and caregivers actively try to lessen the time their children are spending time in front of a tablet, tv, phone or a computer.
The statement also included a special recommendation for preschooler between two and five years old. It said that this age group should not be using a screen for more than one hour a day, while babies and toddlers under two years old should not be using screens at all. It is interesting that all children should turn off their screens one hour before they go to sleep, according to the statement.
Dr Michelle Ponti, chair of the CPS Digital Health Task Force, highlighted that children who are younger than five years old need active playtime and active family time in order to be able to develop essential life skills like creative thinking and language.
The Canadian Paediatric Society also advised physicians to explain and help with the ‘’4Ms’’ of a screen time: minimizing, mitigating, mindfully using, and modeling healthy use of screens. In order to mitigate screen time, it is recommended that the prioritized content is educational and interactive. It is also very important that parents sit down and watch shows along with their kids.
According to Matthew Johnson, the director of education at Media Smarts and a member of the CPS Digital Health Task Force, parents can and need to help children develop a positive relationship with screens. This can be accomplished by making sure that the screens are being used only at specific times and for specific reasons.
The content parents are selecting for their children also plays a crucial role. It should be high quality and age appropriate and should be watched with children so they can be encouraged to ask questions about what they are watching.
As a final note, parents should be very mindful of their own behavior and how their own overuse of screens will influence their children.