Researchers say when it comes to screen time for kids, think of the three C’s

How much screen time do you let your kids have? The World Health Organization says no screens for kids under 1 year old, but the American Academy of Pediatrics has different advice.

It can be confusing — especially when technology surrounds all of us all day long. Researchers are trying to make it easier for you with three points to remember.

So many screens, so much information. Joscelin Rocha-Hidalgo is a doctoral student at Georgetown University, and part of a team examining the latest research on media use and young children. Rocha-Hidalgo says parents should think of the three C’s, starting with the Child.

“What they like, what they don’t like, their mood, temperament,” Rocha-Hidalgo says.

Second, consider the Content. Is it educational and age appropriate?

The third C is Context. Will the media allow kids to transfer information from the app to the real world? Rocha-Hidalgo says apps should provide an opportunity for back and forth interaction between child and parent, much like reading a book.

“You are actively engaged with them. You’re showing there’s a cat in the book — look, there’s a cat in the neighborhood. Look at it. It’s black. It’s also like it in the book. So you are interacting with the book. Why not do the same with technology?” she says.

Here’s some other advice: Use video chat to connect with far away family, like grandma, and be creative.  Share stories through the screen.

And limit your screen time when you are one-on-one with your child. Put your phone on silent or do not disturb, and turn off the television when no one is watching.

“It seems to be giving company to kids, but at the end of the day, it’s just distracting them from the real goal of them relating with the real world,” Rocha-Hidalgo says.

Researchers also suggest parents take screens out of their children’s bedrooms, because screen time before bed makes it hard for kids to fall asleep.