Joint Guidance Brief on the Use of Technology with Young Children

The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education released a guidance brief on early learning and the use of technology to help families and early educators use technology to promote active, engaged, meaningful and socially interactive learning.

For children ages 2–5, families and early educators need to take into account that technology may be used at home and in early learning settings. New recommendations in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 2016 Media and Young Minds Brief suggest that one hour of technology use is appropriate per day, inclusive of time spent at home and in early learning settings and across devices. HHS supports more limited technology use in early care and education settings; more information on their recommendations can be found in Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards.Photo of IPad showing Dr. Suess book

However, time is only one metric that should be considered with technology use for children in this age range. Families and early educators should also consider the quality of the content, the context of use, and opportunities the technology provides to strengthen or develop relationships. At home, parents can use technology to supplement real-world interactions, for instance, by using an app at the zoo or recapping what they experienced while there.

Recognizing the growth of technology use in early learning settings, HHS and ED released the guidance brief to promote developmentally appropriate use of technology in homes and early learning settings. The Departments consulted with the American Academy of Pediatrics in the development of this brief.

Read the full brief.