How and Why to Make a Family Media Use Plan

As we are becoming a society that so heavily relies on digital media, how do we use that media toward the healthy development for our children? Also, how do we know when it is too much?

Kids Playing Video GamesRecently a new recommendation for children’s media use was given by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The full article can be read at American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Recommendations for Children’s Media Use.  We are continually immersed in digital media, through television, video games, cell phone apps etc. There are both positive and negative effects on healthy development. Therefore, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides new recommendations and resources to help families navigate this epidemic and create a healthy media diet.

Help is provided through an interactive online tool that families can personalize call the Family Media Use Plan. Families will have the ability to develop a plan that considers health, education, and entertainment needs of each child as well as the whole family.

“Families should proactively think about their children’s media use and talk with children about it, because too much media use can mean that children don’t have enough time during the day to play, study, talk, or sleep,” said Jenny Radesky, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement, “Media and Young Minds.”

Parents are encouraged to prioritize creative and unplugged playtime for children of all ages. Healthy development occurs when we participate in activities that are critical to our learning and development. These include physical activities, hands-on exploration, and face-to-face social interaction with the non-digital world.  Unhealthy development occurs when media replaces these activities. In addition to what media is replacing, overuse of media is also affecting our overall attention.  Numerous studies have been released lately discussing how digital media use is increasing symptoms associated with ADHD whether or not individuals have been diagnosed. This impacts our overall executive function of being able to plan, prioritize, organize, avoid procrastination and self-regulate.

AAP recommends:

  • ·Up to 18 months: limit to video-chatting.
  • ·18 to 24 months: onlyintroduce digital media that is high-quality programming and watch it with their children to help them understand what they're seeing.
  • ·2 to 5 years: limit to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
  • ·6 and older: place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.

Other recommendations regardless of age include:

  • ·Designate media-free times together (dinner and/or driving)
  • ·Media free locations at home (bedrooms)
  • ·Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.

The overall message from APP is that technology should be used as a tool for healthy development; not to be treated as a stand-in for physical activity or social interaction.  Furthermore, limited screen time is recommended to help with the adverse effects on attention; screen time is often the slot machine for attention.  

What can we do to increase our attention and help combat the negative impacts of the digital world?

Play Attention is a learning system to improve attention, behavior, and cognitive function for all children and adults that are looking to increase their attention. We will customize a program to address your attention needs. Our system is technology based; however, the graphics are very low stimuli, yet engaging and fun. Play Attention uses technology as a healthy educational tool to teach you how to increase your attention in this over stimuli media world.  Use your screen time wisely.