Appropriate Use of Electronic Devices
Parents often ask how much electronic device use is “too much” for their children. Electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, computers, televisions, and game consoles are increasingly available to young children and adolescents and many have their own personal devices. Used appropriately, these devices enhance learning as well as entertain.
Inappropriate use of these technologies involves overuse, partially for entertainment purposes, as well to view and communicate in ways that are not age and developmentally appropriate. Parents need to (1) limit the time children spend using these devices and (2) monitor the content and interaction that their children are engaging in.
There are guidelines available to help parents decide what is appropriate for their children. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and adolescents spend no more than one to two hours per day using these devices for recreational use. Download their Policy Statement “Children, Adolescents, and the New Media” here: pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/10/24/peds.2013-2656
An excellent Canadian resource for helping young persons develop “digital and media literacy” is Media Smarts: mediasmarts.ca
If you haven’t done so already, learn more about new media technologies so that you can establish informed policies for your family to assure safe and healthy electronic device usage. Talk to your children about this important issue.