Toddlers don’t need firm screen time limits, new Canadian guidance says
The Canadian Paediatric Society has ditched setting firm time limits for screen use among toddlers and preschoolers, encouraging instead that parents prioritize educational, interactive and age-appropriate material.
New guidance released Thursday morning still urges no screens at all for kids younger than age two, except to video-chat with others, such as grandparents.
But a previous recommendation to limit two-to-five-year-olds to one hour a day of screen time has been scrapped as the doctors’ group reassesses our changing relationship with technology.
Calgary pediatrician Dr. Janice Heard, a member of the group’s digital health task force, says parents would do better to focus on reducing passive screen use, co-viewing with kids and modelling desired behaviour.
“The best thing they can do for their child is to interact with them one-on-one, if they can,” says Heard, suspecting that pandemic lockdowns reversed pre-COVID-19 momentum to curb screen use among various age groups.
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“Then they’ll just naturally decrease the amount of time their children spend on screens when they recognize that it’s not teaching them anything, it’s not helping them in any particular way. And for the very small children, it’s actually quite harmful.”
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