The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) has announced new screen time guidelines for children under three years old

While previously the AAP had advised no screen time for at all for children under the age of 2, the advice has now changed.

The AAP which first issued that recommendation back in the last year of the 20th Century, has now revised and updated its guidelines for both children and their parents in a move that reflects new research and habits.

The new advice is that children aged over 18 months can and should use video chat with family, and watch supervised “high quality” programmes such as Sesame Street until the age of five.

The new guidelines move fully place the emphasis on what children are watching to who they are watching it with. The report reads:

“Families should proactively think about their children’s media use and talk with children about it, because too much media use can mean that children don’t have enough time during the day to play, study, talk, or sleep…What’s most important is that parents be their child’s ‘media mentors’. That means teaching them how to use it as a tool to create, connect and learn.”

The report also focused on the on the importance of physical activity and non-screen face to face interaction, and recommends completely media-free locations in family homes, such as bedrooms and play rooms.

Two- to five-year-olds should be limited to one hour of screen time a day, and “media free times” should be created by carers, the guidelines add.

The report also encourages parents to put their smartphones down when interacting with their children, and make sure they got enough sleep. The importance of media free times were also highly recommended, such as at dinner and also before going to sleep, and stated that media devices should not be present at these social occasions.

Previous studies have shown compelling evidence that too much screen time can negatively affect sleep, promote obesity and depression, and have an overreaching negative impact on childhood development.