Technology Use and Screen-Time Policy

Technology in our current world is changing and evolving constantly.  Media technology is part of daily life for most of us, including for children.  This easy access means that adults must make decisions about the time children spend in front of screens.  This is especially important in the summer months, when the heat and additional free time can mean more screen time.

Many experts have concerns about the effects of too much screen time, particularly as it relates to children’s health.  For years, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended that parents and caregivers minimize the amount of screen time for children.  The AAP’s recommendations include avoiding screen time for children younger than 18 months, and being highly selective with any programs for children between 18 and 24 months.

Meaningful interaction with technology and media can offer opportunities for children to explore worlds they might otherwise be unable to experience.  However, it is important to guide children on how to use technology and set limits.  A screen-time policy is necessary to show how and why the children in your program engage with technology and media devices and to limit the amount of screen time they are allowed.

A complete screen time policy should include the following:

  • Types of screens available to children (television, tablets, computers)
  • Purpose, availability, and limitations related to screen use
  • Age(s) of children exposed to screens
  • How screen time is directly related to children’s learning
  • How program staff facilitate learning and engage with children when screens are in use
  • Other options available to children when screens are in use.