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Media use in children: American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations 2016
  1. Sheena Guram,
  2. Peter Heinz
  1. Department of Paediatrics, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sheena Guram, Department of Paediatrics, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK; s.guram{at}nhs.net

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Background

Media use among children and adolescents is common. The term is used for broadcast and interactive communication, including television, radio, video games, mobile phones and the internet (social media websites and ‘video-chatting’). Television contributes most to media usage time (Ofcom, 2015)1 closely followed by devices connected to the internet. On average, children aged 8–15 years watch 15 hours of television per week,1 and one in four teenagers describe themselves as ‘constantly connected’ to the internet.2

The advantages of being able to easily access information and entertainment and to stay in contact with friends and family contrast with evidence linking increased media use and rising levels of obesity.3 There are also associated risks of sleep disturbance, issues surrounding online safety, compromised privacy and cyberbullying.

In November 2016, the American Academy of Paediatricians (AAP) published two policy statements entitled ‘Media and Young Minds’4 and ‘Media Use in School Aged Children and Adolescents’.5 Supported by a number of linked resources, they aim to address some of these issues, provide recommendations on managing the use of media and encourage parents to work together with paediatricians and schools.

Previous guidelines

In 1999, the AAP issued a policy statement addressing media use by children and adolescents.6 A further policy statement was published in 2011 addressing the use of media specifically by children under 2 years of age. While the previous statements have recommended avoiding the use of media in children less than 2 …

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