CCFC Salutes Michelle Obama’s Efforts to Reduce Children’s Screen Time; First Lady calls for important limits in childcare settings.

Date of Release: 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

June 9, 2011
Contact: Josh Golin (617-896-9369; josh@commercialfreechildhood.org)
For Immediate Release

CCFC Salutes Michelle Obama’s Efforts to Reduce Children’s Screen Time
First Lady calls for important limits in childcare settings.

BOSTON -- June 9 -- Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled an important new effort to reduce children’s screen time in childcare settings as part of her new Let’s Move! Child Care initiative.  The First Lady urged day care facilities and home-based providers to:

  • Commit to no screen time for children under 2 years.
  • Strive to limit screen time to no more than 30 minutes per week during child care for children 2 and older.
  • Work with parents and caregivers to ensure that children over 2 have no more than 1-2 hours of quality screen time per day, the limit recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The following is the statement of CCFC’s Director, Dr. Susan Linn:

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood applauds First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to reduce children’s screen time in childcare settings.  Mrs. Obama’s efforts are the latest in a growing public health movement to improve children’s wellbeing by reducing the amount of time children spend with screens.  Providers would do well to follow her recommendations.  According to a 2009 study in Pediatrics, 36% of center-based childcare programs include television time, for an average of 1.2 hours a day, and a troubling 70% of home-based childcare programs include television time for an average of 3.4 hours per day.  And that’s in addition to the 32 hours a week that 2-5-year-olds spend, on average, in front of screens at home.

Mrs. Obama rightly recognizes that limiting screen time—whether TV, videos, DVDs, computers, video games, or handheld devices—is essential for healthy development.  It is particularly important that the First Lady, and the country’s most visible mom, is advocating for absolutely no screen time for children under two.  The links between screen time and childhood obesity are well-documented.  And, excessive screen time is a factor in so many other problems facing children today, including poor school performance, attention issues, and the erosion of children’s creative play—the foundation of learning.

Mrs. Obama’s statement comes at a critical time for children.  The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the nation’s premier early childhood professional organization, is currently revising its position statement on Technology in Early Childhood Programs.  We hope that NAEYC will join the First Lady and the public health community in helping parents and early educators promote healthy living by limiting the amount of time children spend with screens.

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