Computer Time

Q: “My son is almost 3 and already a computer whiz! He loves to play on the computer more than anything else. How much time should I allow him each day?”

A: Many experts in child development advise that children under age 3 not spend any time playing with computers at all. Computer use does not correspond to the ways in which young children physically learn and explore.

Yet computers are an integral part of daily life in American households, and it may be unrealistic to expect children not to show an early interest in them.

High-quality software programs for young children may be fun and interesting for short periods (less than 1 hour a day), but should not replace the active play and hands-on learning that are best for this age.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 1hour per day of combined screen time—that means computers, TV and video games—for kids ages 2 to 5.

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