Frequent Questions and Concerns about Technology and Media

How young is too young for watching TV?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under the age of two. Once your child reaches two years of age, you can start to gradually introduce TV exposure, keeping it very limited at first.

How can I set reasonable, fair boundaries for TV watching or Internet usage?

Set limits and consequences that take pressure off of you. By setting boundaries such as “No TV on school nights,” or “If you don’t turn off the game when the timer goes off, there will be no more computer time this weekend,” the responsibility is placed on your child. You can also develop a points system in which your children get a certain number of points each week that they can spend on screen time (or trade in for other privileges).

When does advertising start to affect kids?

Kids start to perceive and be affected by advertising at a very young age. Research has shown that some kids can begin developing brand loyalty by age two, so it’s important that you pay attention to the media messages and images that your child is exposed to. Once your child has begun watching TV, choose shows and videos that have little or no advertising content.

Isn’t keeping a close eye on my teen’s Internet usage a little excessive?

While your teen may tell you that you’re overdoing it and invading her privacy, it’s still important that you know what she is doing and who she is talking to online. In fact, it’s your responsibility, as well as your right, to monitor your child’s exposure to information. There is a lot of very useful and informative content on the Internet, but there is also a great deal of harmful content as well. Let your teen know that you’ll be monitoring her Internet usage, including sites visited, chats, and e-mails, for her safety (and make sure to do it).