New recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics about children’s media use were released in October 2016. These recommendations include tools like the Media Calculator to help families plan their screen time.
Media Calculator from the American Academy of Pediatrics
The Media Calculator has color codes for categories including sleep, school, sports, meals and other everyday activities. These categories are distributed across a 24 hour day, and can be can be customized to match specific schedules.
While creating a schedule, users can visualize how their time is spent. If an average schedule includes sleeping, eating, finishing homework and after school activities, any leftover time for media use is scarce. Working with this dynamic visual diagram can help people understand the tradeoffs and plan time wisely.
Family Media Plan
If you like the Media Calculator, you may also appreciate their Family Media Plan. The media plan tool covers house rules for screen time, digital citizenship and online privacy. Each topic helps families think about their definition of healthy media use for the household.
Media planning can also be done with a written agreement or contract. I particularly like the example from Common Sense Media which covers a range of ages along with prompts for family discussion.
Evolving Definition of Screen Time
Be sure to reference the Common Sense Media Screen Time Q & A. This resource is a helpful reminder that screen time has multiple purposes and evolving definitions. For example, limiting screen time to 30 minutes a day for a student who has two hours of homework may not be possible when classroom homework moves online. A middle or high school student may need several hours of screen time just to complete their homework.
Recognizing the difference between recreational screen time and essential screen time is necessary for mapping out realistic and successful media plans.
What is your family’s plan for screen time? Do you think these tools can make a difference? Let’s connect in the comments!
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