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Fairfax County, Virginia

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Christina Paladeau,
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Technology and Media for Young Children

 

Learn to minimize negative effects and optimize positive impacts of screen time.

A Major Part of Life and Learning

Today we are surrounded by technology. Children are exposed to televisions, computers, tablets, smart phones, video games and other devices inside and outside the home. According to the Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development and the Strategic Knowledge Cluster on Early Child Development, about 83% of children ages 6 months to 6 years access screens every day to play, learn or read.

Tips to Make the Most of Tech

A growing body of research is helping identify best practices and useful strategies for families to manage children’s interactions with digital media. The following tips for setting limits and using technology with preschoolers are a good place to start.

  • Limit children’s use of digital media before the age of 2. Children ages 0-2 should not watch media or use technology alone.
  • Parents interested in using media with their children should start around 18 months with high quality content, and they should always co-view content and use technology with children.
  • The American Association of Pediatrics recommends limiting the use of digital media to one hour a day for children ages 2-5 (including screen time at home and other locations).
  • Be intentional about the technology and media used by children. Be sure it is age appropriate.
  • Be an active participant. Adults can facilitate learning by interacting with and overseeing children using technology.
  • Research the content of apps before purchasing them.
  • Technology should not be used as a substitute for adult-child interaction.
  • Model the appropriate use of technology.
  • Limit interaction with screens before bedtime.
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