Deeper research is providing a better understanding of the risks and potential benefits of the use of tablets, phones, and other digital devices. Psychologists and others are focusing more on the type of content kids consume. The primary risks studied are physical and mental health issues. Key benefits are focused on the use of digital devices as teaching tools.

Monitor Amount of Time Spent on Devices

Studies suggest there are minimal benefits for the youngest children as they do not learn well from digital devices. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children younger than 24 months.

Older kids can learn meaningful information through digital devices. However, studies show that elementary and middle school aged kids who exceed screen time recommendations scored lower on cognitive assessments. Furthermore, too much screen time impacts sleep and increases impulsivity in this age group.

Content Matters

Be mindful about the media, content, and time spent on devices. Parents should be present, understand and discuss with their children what content they are consuming. It is equally important for kids to learn how to develop self-control and be able to self-regulate their screen usage.

American Psychological Association


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Screen Time: How Electronic Media - From Baby Videos to Educational Software - Affects Your Young Child

Lisa Guernsey

Lisa Guernsey researched the effects of television and other media on young children. Her conclusion is unlike the typical oft-cited advice and mandates from American Association of Pediatricians. Rather than broad general recommendations, she concludes that parents should focus on content, context and the individual child.

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Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in a World of Screens

L. Guernsey and M. Levine

This book is centered around promoting adult-child interactions that help kids grow into strong readers. It helps parents learn how to use digital media to build a foundation for reading success.

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Learn How to Create a Media Plan for Your Kids

Excessive use of media is associated with lack of sleep, weight issues, academic learning loss, and behavioral issues. The objective of a family media use plan is to help children balance their time between online and offline activities.

Tips For Families

  • Limit digital entertainment time to less than 2 hours daily.
  • Content matters and it’s important to choose media programs that deliver a good moral example for kids.
  • Be present when children are watching programs on a device. Discuss the programs and how it connects or disconnects with your family values.
  • Actively teach children the difference between appropriate and inappropriate usage of texting or posting content online.
  • Keep screens out of the bedrooms and away from mealtime.

American Academy of Pediatrics