This guide aims to link parents with valuable data and resources. Through our research, one message has been consistent: screen usage benefits and challenges with children is a personal parenting choice and unique to the individual child. In this guide we link to trusted sources as well as valuable resources on how to configure devices, track usage, and develop family media plans that work for your situation.

Screens and child development

In our comprehensive review, we’ve summarized over 20 medical journals and studies, with links to everything if you’re inclined to read it all for yourself.

We also have a guide that serves as a Q&A on screen time and your children.

Guidelines from the experts

In a nutshell, most guides refer back to the guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Ages < 18 months: avoid screens except for video chatting
  • Ages 18 months – 24 months: Parents should choose high quality programming and be present with children while watching
  • Ages 2 years – 5 years: limit screen time to one hour per day with high quality programming.
  • Ages 6 and up: Establish limits on screen time and media usage. Refer to the Family Media Plan.

For more in depth reading, check out the guides below:

In addition to the general guidelines, the AAP also has a great interactive guide that helps shape a media plan for your family’s unique needs.

Before browsing Amazon Prime, Netflix, or YouTube, be sure to check out both recommended options as well as a searchable database of shows and movies from CommonSense Media. This nonprofit categorizes each show with attributes that help you decide if it is right for your child. It displays age appropriateness and also has reviews from other parents.

Below is an example breakdown of a random movie I selected.

Getting started with video games

When and what type of video games to introduce is a tough challenge for parents of young children. We have a page dedicated to your questions answered as well as a resource guide specifically dedicated to choosing the right games for your family. We explain rating systems along with good resources for finding and choosing age appropriate games.

In addition to our own guides, CommonSense Media has a great search tool that allows users to filter by age and console. Users can also search by video game title to see expert and fellow parent reviews.

The best parental control options for screen time and video games

Alternatives to screen time

More coming soon