Encouraging Healthy Media Usage for Children
The use of digital media by kids is quite a disputed topic. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should set technology boundaries for children of different ages. It is an essential prerequisite for their healthy life. What limitations should be applied? Use the following digital media use guideline to find out the answer.
1. Babies up to 18 months
The use of digital devices must be strictly forbidden at such a young age. Newborn babies hardly begin to make themselves familiar with the outside world. They are extremely vulnerable. Any unwanted sounds distract them and can negatively affect their brain development. Don’t try to entertain a kid with a TV-set. It is not supposed to be a babysitter! Instead, comfort a child with a lullaby.
Moms shouldn’t use mobile phones or tablets while feeding a child. The strongest relation between mother and child is established during this time. If mom gets distracted by a cell phone while breastfeeding, a child feels it. This causes a disconnection between them. Infants start crying and become naughty. They need the full attention of their parents. If they lack it, they are getting restless and disturbed. It can result in some behavioral issues in the following years.
2. Toddlers from 2 to 5
Kids of this age are allowed to use digital devices for a limited time. It shouldn’t exceed one hour per day. The rest of their leisure time should remain unplugged. Toddler-aged children can watch TV programs. The content is supposed to be easy to comprehend and of high quality. Children's cognitive skills are not properly developed yet. They confuse a real world and a fictitious one. So they can get scared and have jitters. One more thing to remember: avoid advertisements. They can disturb kids and make them hyperactive.
What about using face-to-face online media like Skype? It could be even beneficial for child’s mental health. So you can bring your kids in front of the monitor the next time you will be talking to their grandparents. It would be much better than watching cartoons.
3. 6-year-old children and older
Work done, have your fun. Parents should clearly explain to their kids the following fact: there's time to work and time to rest. The productive time should always be a priority. Studying, social life, physical activities, and good quality sleep are integral components of the kid’s day. The rest of time can be devoted to digital media. Parents should provide some mentorship and teach their children how to use it wisely. Set clear rules: no phones during school hours or at nighttime.
Digital space is not safe. Such Internet dangers as cyberbullying, sexting, and online stalking have become a harsh reality. Kids need to be aware of this. As they say, threatened men live long. Parents should discuss with their children how they feel and what they are concerned about. It is also a good practice to check their cell phones from time to time. Careful attention need be paid to the apps downloaded. A good deal of them can promote harassment. If you find dangerous apps, make sure to remove them.
To recap, parents should limit the time of digital media use for their kids depending on their age. Digital content should be appropriate and of high quality. Everything has its time. There’s no need to introduce children to screens at a very early age. They will quickly learn how to use various devices when required. Sincere face-to-face conversations should become a common thing in each family. The child who gets enough love and support tends to spend much less time in the digital space. They prefer to live a real life.