In 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revised its screen time recommendations and now encourages parents to focus on the content on the screen itself. The AAP recommends limiting recreational and entertainment screen time to one to two hours per day for children over age two (source). The AAP also points out that we need to be mindful of all screen time which includes television, gaming units, cell phones, tablets, and computer screens. The AAP does not have a recommended is no screen limit for educational content and use. More tips from the AAP about children and media.
Experts agree that it is important to talk with your child about the overall amount of entertainment screen time consumed. If necessary, you may want to goals for reducing entertainment screen. The AAP Media Planning Tool is a great resource that can help you develop a Media Plan for your family.
Experts suggest having children surf the internet in a central place at home, such as the kitchen or family room, rather than away from adult supervision or behind a closed door. Know what your child is doing with technology and how his or her time is being spent. Technology can be a great tool and resource, but also has the potential to be a distractor. Help your child learn to focus on completing tasks or assignments first before spending time on games, shopping, and social networking. Teaching today’s children how to manage multiple sources of information and potential distractions is a critical life skill, one best learned before heading off to college or the workplace.
Tools to help manage screen time
Apple's Screen Time makes it much easier to understand your use of technology. This feature enables the user (or parent) to set time limits and block apps, create downtimes for homework/sleep/dinner, etc., set up password protection if necessary, and more. It also totals time spent in apps, the number of times the device is turned on and the number of notifications received.
Note that using Family Sharing to monitor children's devices will only work for personal devices like an iPhone. Apple does not currently allow remote control and viewing of Screen Time reports for a device like a school iPad already managed by a separate system. You can request that feature directly to Apple here.
Google provides a Google's Family Link resource for android users that you may also find beneficial for setting digital ground rules.
Most home WiFi routers allow time-limit configurations for devices on their network. This means a device can be limited in the amount of time it is able to use WiFi at home if so desired. Each router manufacturer will have specific instructions on how to set this up. Below are the parent control resources from the local cable service providers: