Screen time and digital technology use for babies and toddlers
Current national and international guidelines recommend that children under 2 years don’t have screen time other than video-chatting.
Very young children learn best from everyday experiences like physical play, playing outside, reading, creative play and social time with family and friends.
Video-chatting is OK because your child is interacting with another person. Video-chatting can support your child’s social and language development. It can also help to create bonds with family and friends.
Role-modelling healthy habits for screen time and digital technology use
Developing healthy habits for screen time and digital technology use is important for children.
Even if your baby or toddler isn’t using digital technology, your baby sees how you use it and learns from you. You can help your child develop healthy habits by using digital technology in the way you want your child to use it in the future.
Even when your child is very young, you can start modelling healthy digital technology use. For example:
- Switch your phone off during meals.
- Turn the TV off when you’ve finished watching a program.
- Balance your screen time with activities like being outdoors, reading and doing physical activity.
- Give your child your full attention and avoid checking your phone when you’re playing together or feeding your child.
Exposure to screens and digital technology
Your family is likely to have a range of digital technology like televisions, computers, tablets and smartphones. This means that your baby or toddler might see images on screens, even if they’re not using the screens themselves.
It’s good to be aware of what your child might be seeing. For example, images on the news or in video games can be violent and distressing, even for very young children who might not fully understand what they’re seeing.
It’s best to avoid screens in the background altogether, because they can distract babies and toddlers. Babies and toddlers might stop playing or interacting with family and focus on the screens instead.