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If You Want to Help Your Kids Get Smarter, Limit Screen Time

Too Small to Fail
By Too Small to Fail

Young child and mother using a tablet together.

As parents and caregivers, you are bombarded by advertisements for hundreds of shows, movies and internet apps that claim to help children prepare for school and improve learning. But most early childhood experts agree that too much screen time—meaning time that children spend in front of a television, computer or mobile device—can actually do more harm than good. 

While some high quality programs can help preschool-aged children learn vocabulary and early math concepts, the best learning actually happens from direct interaction with adults and the world around us. Children learn language and other skills best through play and direct communication with other people. And for infants and very young toddlers, touch, taste and physical movement are also important ways that they absorb and learn new information.

For parents who feel that some screen time is unavoidable, there are resources that offer guidance on when and how to expose very young children to television and other media. For example, experts recommend that parents and caregivers choose children’s programs carefully, and that they watch these programs with their children as much as possible to stimulate conversation.

Finally, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children younger than two years of age, and no more than two hours a day for older children.

Resources for Sharing:

  • This article from the American Academy of Pediatrics explains why pediatricians recommend no television or screen time for children under age 2.
  • These 5 tips for picking a preschooler’s first TV shows are helpful and shareworthy!
  • Great research from The Urban Institute about infants, toddlers and television.

GRAPHIC: This infographic from Common Sense Media explains the dramatic increase in mobile device use among infants and toddlers. >>

Posted In: Newsletter