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Two digital tools to help parents and families create healthy digital habits

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kids phone MGN

The American Academy of Pediatrics launched two new online tools to help families create healthy digital habits.

MADISON (WKOW) -- This week the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) launched two new digital tools to help parents and families create healthy digital habits.

The updated and redesigned Family Media Plan tool and the questionnaire that asks if your kids are ready for their first phone are free, web-based aids aimed to encourage safe and responsible internet and technology use for families.

Doctors used to recommend two hours of screen time a day for kids, but with the prevalence of digital technology, this rule doesn't work as well anymore, according to Dr. Megan Moreno, adolescent health expert, UW Health Kids, professor of pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. This is especially true because many parents create the rules then forget them a few months later, one study showed.

“The family media plan presents families with different suggestions and options for rules and guidelines that can work for their specific needs,” Moreno said. “The family media plan tool was first launched in 2016 and the re-launch this week has several important updates.”

Moreno is on the AAP Council on Communications and Media and her research was used to provide scientific evidence to construct the updated tools.

“We understand kids used their devices to stay in touch with friends and attend school virtually during the pandemic,” she said. “Now we need to find a new balance between the online and offline worlds.”

Another important piece to the family media tool is the new 10-question quiz that helps parents know if their kid is ready for a cell phone.

“There is no one right answer or a single age that is perfect; it is more about how does the kid handle responsibilities and how will they use the phone,” she said. “This new questionnaire for parents can guide them through factors to consider and key measures for the right time.”

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