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Babies, toddlers now can Skype with grandma, new guidelines say

The American Academy of Pediatrics relaxes its "no screens under 2" policy and changes its definition of screen time, and what's OK to watch.

Now it's OK play on a smartphone if you're older than 18 months and you're consuming quality media, pediatricians say.
James Martin/CNET

The American Academy of Pediatricians is offering some guilt relief for parents who let their little ones watch TV or play on their mobile device.

The prominent professional organization on Friday announced new guidelines that do away with its long-held recommendation that kids under 2 years old should get no screen time at all.

According to the new guidelines, which take into consideration the prevalence of mobile devices in everyday life, screen time for kids 18 months and younger should be limited to video chats. At 18 months, it's OK for parents to introduce high-quality media programming, the guidelines say.

Screen time should be limited to an hour for children 2 to 5 years and parents should co-view media with their kids to help them understand what they're seeing and apply it to the real world, AAP says.

It also recommends families create a media plan to figure out what to watch and use, how much time should be spent interacting with media, and when to have some screen-free time.

"What's most important is that parents be their child's 'media mentor,'" said Jenny Radesky, lead author of the new policy statement. "That means teaching them how to use it as a tool to create, connect and learn."