Dimitri Christakis, MD, MPH (Editor-in-Chief, JAMA Pediatrics, Director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, George Adkins Professor of Pediatrics, Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, and Adjunct Professor of Health Services, University of Washington School of Medicine Chief Science Officer, Children and Screens), discusses the importance of high quality programming and limits as part of a healthy-media diet for 2 to 5 year-olds at the #AskTheExperts webinar “Zero to Five: Eeny, Meeny, Mighty Tech,” February 9, 2022.

[Dimitri Christakis]: So I want to talk about 2 to 5 years. That’s sort of that magical period where there really is, there really are, a lot of excellent shows that have been shown to improve children’s cognitive, social and emotional development. Many of us grew up with some of those landmark programs, whether it was Sesame Street or The Electric Company. And there are lots more new ones now that really have a sound evidence base behind them. They do work. They can teach children letters and numbers. They can promote prosocial behavior. We’ve done studies that have shown just that. So being selective about the programs and finding high quality ones is a really good thing that you can do. But there too, there need to be limits because we frequently talk about a healthy media diet. And akin to a food diet, even healthy foods in excess have untoward consequences, right. So carrots are a healthy food. But if your child eats a bushel of carrots a day, they don’t have a balanced diet because they’re probably not eating the other things that they need to eat. And if your child watches too much, even high quality preschool programing, they’re not doing the other things they need to do to develop normally. They’re not engaging in enough physical play, imaginative play. They’re not socializing enough with other children and adults. So my recommendation is that they have no more than an hour of high quality screen time.

View the full webinar

Ask the Experts—Webinar

Zero to Five: Eeny, Meeny, Mighty Tech

What happens to the foundational cognitive, psychosocial, emotional and physical developmental needs during the critical first five years that may be challenged or enhanced by media?

Social Relationships
Brain and Cognition
Education & Learning