Friday, November 18, 2011

Updated: The AAP - American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations about kids and media use

The APP recently updated their 1999 policy statement that strongly discouraged the use of media for kids aged under 2. They remain cautious and write that the educational benefits of programs are still unproven for kids younger than 2 years:

Research has found that certain high-quality programs have educational benefits for children older than 2 years. Children who watch these programs have improved social skills, language skills, and even school readiness. However, the educational merit of media for children younger than 2 years remains unproven despite the fact that three-quarters of the top-selling infant videos make explicit or implicit educational claims. To be beneficial, children need to understand the content of programs and pay atten- tion to it. Children older than 2 years and those younger than 2 years are at different levels of cognitive develop- ment and process information differently.

As mentioned by David Kleeman - President of the American Center for Children and Media, the AAP did not suffenciently emphasize the diversity in children's development and learning circumstances:

there are valuable insights in the report -- particularly regarding background TV and the value of play, as well as the admonition that media makers not market hoped-for educational outcomes to anxious parents.
 [...] AAP's official "Tweet" of the study was "AAP says babies and toddlers should learn from play, not screens." They didn't say "learn from play more than screens" or even "learn from play, limit screens."  
[...] true for children's media -- not all screens and not all content are created equal.                        

For the AAP statement's abstract and full text:
- American Academy of Pediatrics (2011) Media Use by Children Younger than 2 Years 

Interesting reactions to the AAP statement: 
- David Kleeman (2011) Children and Media: Pediatricians' Monolith Myth
- Moms with apps (2011) Updated Policy Statement from the AAP


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