RadioMD: Healthy Children

Family Media Plan Tool: Screen Time for Your Family

February 21, 201722 min
Come up with a media plan for your family and teach safe online habits.Today’s children are immersed in technology. It’s fully integrated into education and leisure activities. How much is too much?The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommendations for interactive media use for families. The two-hour limit has changed, because media is ubiquitous in today’s society. It’s almost impossible to determine when the two hours starts and stops. How do you count homework, Facetime visits and multitasking?The AAP has created a Family Media Plan Tool to help you design your own unique family media plan. You can calculate how much screen time your child gets in a day. You can also print out a media plan so the rules are established and known. The media plan walks you through the conversation you should have with your children to work out your family plan for media. You can review the plan in summer.The AAP also offers these suggestions: First, don’t consider Facetime or Skype as media usage. That’s communication time. A chat with grandma takes a different form now than it did 10 years ago. Allow your child to use media to visit with people. Second, make sure your child gets a balance of other things. She needs sleep, time outdoors, focused meals and time for homework. Encourage your child to spend time doing other things than killing time on a tablet or computer. Talk to your child about other activities to pursue when not online. Perhaps building something, learning to play an instrument or getting active in a sport appeals to your kid. Teach your child to be a good media citizen. Activities involving media can be a family experience. Help show your child how to interface using media. Make sure he knows the risks of cyber bullying, sexting and predators. He should have the trust to come to you if he witnesses something that doesn’t follow the good example you’ve set. You may opt to make the bedroom a media-free zone. This will help your child sleep and gives you a better opportunity to supervise use. Encourage your child to share with you when she really enjoys something or makes an important friend online. Knowing who and what are important to your child will help you monitor what’s happening in your child’s life. Listen in as Dr. Yolanda Reid Chassiakos and Dr. Corinn Cross discuss how a family media plan can be an effective tool in your home.

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