How much is too much screen time for kids under 5?
The Canadian Paediatric Society has released its first stand-alone recommendations for how much time children aged five and under should spend in front of a screen.
The society is standing by its past statement that kids younger than two years old should completely avoid screen time.
For years, the CPS has buried its recommendations about digital screen time management in its healthy active living outline.
But a recent survey of its members found that parents are increasingly asking family doctors and pediatricians for advice on shifts in the digital culture.
Dr. Michelle Ponti suggests parents start making a family media plan even before their child is born, outlining when, where and how screens may be used.
Research suggests it's easier to set limits early rather than scale back on viewing time later on.
The society recommends toddlers aged two to five should watch no more than an hour of screen time per day -- and turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime.
The organization has also put together a list of questions for physicians to consider asking parents.
Here's a sample of what they suggest families should talk about:
HOW MANY SCREENS?: If you own a smartphone, tablet, TV and computer, which ones do you allow your children to access? Research suggests that while TV still dominates total screen time, and appears to be increasing for children aged three to five, many preschoolers are now carrying around portable devices that boost how many hours they spend with digital screens.
WHAT DO YOU WATCH?: Consider the programs you watch with your children and which ones they view alone. Do they encounter either adult or commercial programming? The organization suggests parents engage with their children when they watch educational, age-appropriate content as it helps them connect the content with real life.
HOW DO YOU USE SCREENS?: Do you turn on the TV for your kids while doing chores? If so, how often are you using screens as a distraction? Are you distracted by screens? Parents say they're finding their own use of mobile technology is causing them extra stress and reducing their ability to interact "in the moment" with their children, the report says.
ARE SCREENS USED IN YOUR ABSENCE?: Ask whether your child's daycare program uses screen-based activities. If they do, then how frequently are they being used?