“A healthy approach to children’s media use should both minimize potential health risks and foster appropriate and positive media use—in other words, it should promote a healthy ‘media diet’,” said Marjorie Hogan, MD, FAAP, co-author of the AAP policy. “Parents, educators and pediatricians should participate in media education, which means teaching children and adolescents how to make good choices in their media consumption .”

And as NPR reports, citing Dr. Ari Brown—the doctor behind some of the APP’s previous research on childhood development and media—too much of the wrong kind of screen use, especially before the age of two, can be enormously detrimental.

“The concern for risk is that some kids who watch a lot of media actually have poor language skills, so there’s a deficit in their language development. We also have concerns about other developmental issues because they’re basically missing out on other developmentally appropriate activities,” Dr. Brown told NPR.

Additionally, researchers say that too little is known about the accuracy of claims made by many digital media companies and mobile app producers about the “educational” benefits of tablet or smart phone use.

According to Vanderbilt University developmental psychologist Georgene Troseth, also interviewed by NPR, parents should be “wary” of such claims.

“There’s nothing wrong with a toy being fun, engaging a child for an amount of time,” said Troseth. “But to promote it as being educational we really need to do research to find out. Is having it be interactive, doing anything to make it easier to learn from?”

The APP’s recommendations to parents include:

The group also released this video, featuring Dr. Victor Strasburger, summarizing the AAP’s position:

In a recent interview with veteran journalist Bill Moyers, MIT developmental psychologist Dr. Sherry Turkle described the growing crisis of social disconnectedness that has emerged—both for children and adults—since the new arrival of vastly expanded digital and social media technologies.

Turkle, author of “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other,”  our devices are not only changing the way we communicate and interact with each other, but also who we are, fundementally, as human beings. “What concerns me as a developmental psychologist is watching children grow in this new world where being bored is something that never has to be tolerated for a moment,” Turkle told Moyers.

For more insight into her work and perspective, watch the interview below (or here):


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