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How much screen time is really OK for babies under 2?

Topics: Screen Time

Some parents worry that exposing their kids to any TV or screen time could be damaging. Take it from us: A little bit of media isn't gonna hurt. It's heavy exposure to screen media -- for example, constant background TV, devices in the bedroom, and using media as a babysitter that can have a negative impact on babies' and toddlers' cognitive, physical, and emotional development.

Choosing high-quality media, co-viewing and co-playing, and using media as a means of furthering and cementing your relationship with your kids is absolutely OK. The most important thing is that time spent with screens doesn't replace time spent with a loving caregiver.

According to new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents can safely introduce digital media to children at 18 months. Relationship-strengthening activities such as videochatting with relatives can be introduced as early as 16 months. Here are some ideas for sharing media with kids under 2 in small amounts (say, 15 or 30 minutes).

  • Explore new words, ideas, sounds, and pictures online.
  • Show kids photos of themselves and name parts of their faces.
  • Scroll through all your pictures, name the people, and talk about them.
  • Videochat with long-distance relatives.
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