Baby’s first screen time
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents should wait until a child is at least two years old before exposing them to digital media— in other words, plopping an 8-month-old in front of a passive screen like TV or tablets to occupy them is probably not optimal. Moreover, the jury is still out on whether “educational” apps are truly beneficial for babies, so experts suggest exercising common sense when it comes to setting boundaries for digital programming.
But some studies have found that not all screen time is detrimental. Specifically, screen time that encourages parent/infant bonding and interaction may actually be beneficial to early development. Some activities like interactive video calling, where babies communicate with a parent or another human virtually, have been found to help babies learn.
To establish healthy tech practices as a family, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests a “balanced approach” to media in the home. Consider what your daily tech use is and be mindful of what your infant is being exposed to, as by 9 months old, babies are already imitating gestures and mimicking adult behavior. Be a role model when using technology: Put away smartphones during meal time, treat devices with care, and interact with digital assistants like Alexa using a polite and respectful tone — use phrases like “Please” and “Thank you” — to demonstrate behaviors you’d like to instill upon your children as they grow up.
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