Media Use by Children 0-2 Years


From the American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement:

Media Use by Children Younger Than 2 Years
Council on Communications and Media: Media Use by Children Younger Than 2 Years. Pediatrics 2011; 128:5 1040-1045; published ahead of print October 17, 2011, doi:10.1542/peds.2011-1753.

Key Words: media, development, infants, young children, television, screen time

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The wording of the policy specifically discouraged media use in this age group, although it is frequently misquoted by media outlets as no media exposure in this age group. The AAP realizes that media exposure is a reality for many families in today’s society. If parents choose to engage their young children with electronic media, they should have concrete strategies to manage it.


To be beneficial, children need to understand the content of programs and pay attention to it. Children under 12 months do not follow sequential screen shots or a program’s dialogue. Other research has found that children younger than 18 months do not pay much attention to televised programs.

Children at this age are more likely to learn from a live presentation than from a televised one and are also more likely to remember the information from a live presentation afterward.


Ideally, parents should review the content of what their child is watching and watch the program with their child. Families should be strongly encouraged to sit down and read to their child to foster their child’s cognitive and language development.

The importance of parents sitting down to play with their children cannot be overstated. If a parent is not able to actively play with a child, that child should have solo playtime with an adult nearby.

Even for infants as young as 4 months of age, solo play allows a child to think creatively, problem-solve, and accomplish tasks with minimal parent interaction.

Infant vocabulary growth is directly related to the amount of “talk time” or the amount of time parents spend speaking to them.


Three-quarters of the top selling infant videos make explicit or implicit educational claims although the educational merit of media remains unproven (“media” referring to television, videos, Web-based programming, and DVDs viewed on either traditional or new screen technologies).

One study has thus far found that children younger than 2 years who watch television have no statistical improvement in their cognitive development compared with their non viewing peers by 3 years of age.

A developmental shift in attention to televised programs occurs between 1.5 and 2.5 years of age. There are significant individual differences. Some 18- to 24-month-olds might be capable of learning from media, but others might not.