What is the actual evidence on kids and screen time? Preferably broken down by age and screen-time type. Most of what I can find that seems of any quality is about childhood obesity and/or physical activity, neither of which is high on my list of concerns about my own kid.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently changed their recommendation. (According to my uncle the doctor because I’m too lazy to look it up.) They used to say NO screen time at all for kids under 2 yrs, but that was when screen time was passive, like watching a video. Now that touchscreens, iPads, etc., have made screens much more interactive even for babies, they have said that they just don’t know how much screen time is good for little kids. They don’t even know.
#2 (the one with the kids) doesn’t know and doesn’t particularly care (this, she suspects, is what happens if you have a second kid– it changes from, “what does the research say” to “the hell with it, mommy needs a break”). (She does vaguely think the APA is still recommending little screen-time for babies, but they don’t even know anything about introducing food, so how would they know anything about screen time?) She does point out the interesting work by Jesse Shapiro that finds no negative effects of tv exposure, and perhaps some positive effects for some groups. She’s willing to go with that because Jesse Shapiro and his coauthor (who she believes just won the Clark medal) on that paper are good economists. (A related paper on obesity points out that tv seems to be replacing sleep and other passive activities rather than more active activities in time-use studies. They blame the rise in obesity on food intake, not energy output.)
She also notes that many for many kids, the tv stops being entertaining after a certain amount of time. It is quite possible that these kids have an internal turn-off switch and can self-regulate. A good reason to limit screen time if you can — so that you can save it for when you really need it.
Any members of our readership have a better answer?