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