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Parenting in the Age of Technology Screen Time Recommendations
By Julia Putnam, MA, LMFT


Julia Putnam, MA, LMFT As parents, it can feel as if we’re constantly stuck between recommendations and reality. We want to do the best for our kids, but we also need to be realistic about our time, energy, and demands that fall on us each day.

In starting the conversation on parenting in the age of technology, it’s important to first lay out the current recommendations by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

  • Under 18 months: avoid screen time outside of video-chatting
  • 18-24 months: if screens are introduced, limit to high-quality programming that is watched with an adult who is actively engaging in the viewing by explaining what is happening
  • 2-5 years: limit screens to 1 hour per day of high-quality programming that is watched with an adult who is actively engaging in the viewing by explaining what is happening
  • 6 and older: screen use should have consistent limits based on time and types of media, and should not replace sleep, physical activity, or other activities of daily healthy living

Alongside the guidelines listed above, the AAP also recommends that families designate “media-free” times together as well as “media-free” areas of the home, such as bedrooms. It is also recommended that parents have ongoing conversations about digital media safety with their children of all ages.

While the recommendations are ideal, it is ultimately important that we are proactive in monitoring our children’s screen use to ensure that problems do not start to present themselves as a result of too much or inappropriate screen use. These problems can come in the form of disrupted sleep, symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, academic struggles, or face-to-face social impacts. When these aspects of daily life are starting to be replaced by screen use, it is time to reflect on changes that can be put in place.

Julia Putnam is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has extensive training in technology addiction and sees clients at the Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh. For more information, contact Julia at juliaputnamcounseling@gmail.com or call (412) 322-2129 or visit counselingwellnesspgh.com.



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