Is your child spending too much time in front of a screen? The latest guidelines

The ideal number of screen hours for children under two?

Zero, according to the latest position statement from the Canadian Pediatric Society, a review of its 2017 guidelines on the same topic triggered by the pandemic and increased use of screens.

“A child’s first screen encounters are formative because the patterns of exposure and use are habit-forming and are known to continue later in life,” reads the report authored by Dr. Michelle Ponti, member of the CPS Digital Health Working Group.

Limits, he argues, are key because screen time can affect language acquisition, cognitive development and social-emotional health, and can impact physical activity levels, sedentary behavior and sleep.

“Because screens are largely controlled by parents, children’s exposure is more easily modifiable at this age than later.”

But screen time isn’t always detrimental to children’s development. The report suggests there are two benefits for babies, toddlers and families that have been highlighted during the pandemic: interactive video chats and virtual story times. Screen time for children under two is not recommended outside of these activities, the statement said.

For children aged two to five, the statement suggests limiting screen time to an hour or less per day, ensuring it does not become part of childcare routine and maintaining daily “screen-free moments, especially for family meals and book sharing”. .”

The 2019 CPS report on the effects of screen time on the development and mental health of school-aged children and adolescents indicated that adolescents are “less susceptible” to the negative effects of high levels of screen time. a screen, but parents should watch out for “excessive use and other risky behavior”. ”

For children under the age of two, CPS suggests minimizing screen time, mitigating risk by watching media together, being mindful of media use, and adopting healthy habits.

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