One hour a day before the age of 6 and then a maximum of two during school. But no smartphones and tablets before 18 months. And never at the table, during meals, or before going to sleep. The use of digital devices must be managed by educating to a "critical and responsible" consumption. These are some of the recommendations contained in a "handbook for digital health" for children and young people drawn up by the specialists of the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital as part of the "A school of... digital" project, created in collaboration with the professionals of Almaviva, a leading Italian group in digital innovation.
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The goal: to promote better awareness and understanding of the possibilities offered by digital tools and help reduce the risks that can arise from excessive and unfiltered use.
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The project, promoted by the Institute for Child and Adolescent Health with Almaviva, includes a series of educational videos available online, which explain how to balance tablets and smartphones in the different stages of the life of minors, what support they can represent for children with learning disabilities, what possible consequences on vision from prolonged exposure to device screens, but also how the social channels followed by very young people work, what the metaverse and artificial intelligence are. The "handbook for the digital health of children and young people" responds in an agile and concise way to many of the most common questions parents ask themselves, suggesting a conscious and constructive approach.
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"Children's health and well-being," she says Alberto Villani, head of General Pediatrics and director of the Institute for the Health of the Child Jesus - are multidimensional concepts, which include physical, psychological and social aspects. In an era in which smartphones and tablets have assumed an increasingly central role in the lives of parents and children, it is essential to promote conscious and responsible digital consumption to preserve the health and well-being of children and young people. It is very important to talk about these issues, especially in the summer, a period in which young and very young people have a lot of free time, to provide parents with the tools necessary to develop awareness and manage the relationship of the little ones with digital devices in the best possible way".
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1 - No screens under 18 months: For children under eighteen months of age, it's important to avoid screens and encourage learning experiences that engage the senses, such as physical play and exploration of the real world.
2 - One hour a day of digital discovery: Between the ages of two and six, we allow children one hour a day (preferably split into 2 or more periods of 20-30 minutes each) to creatively and educationally explore digital resources, such as apps and age-appropriate content.
3- Limit, but don't ban: During school age, we set a maximum limit of two hours a day for the use of digital devices, in order to balance the time spent online with other activities, such as sports, reading or studying.
4 - A good night's sleep: We discourage the use of digital devices one hour before going to bed, to ensure a peaceful and quality rest for children.
5 - The smartphone is not a sedative: We teach children alternative strategies to manage emotions, such as playing outdoors, reading or drawing, rather than always resorting to digital devices.
6 - Precious moments with the family: We dedicate meals and moments spent with the family to conversations and shared activities, avoiding the use of smartphones and tablets.
7 - Digital Time Management: We use time management features provided by smartphone manufacturers to help kids understand and regulate time spent on devices, promoting awareness of usage.
8 - Educate about online safety: Parents are the main role models for their children: we pay attention to the data and content we share online, showing responsibility and respect for privacy.
9 - Protected online: We teach the importance of using secure passwords and protecting their privacy, for example by setting social profiles to private mode and carefully evaluating who follows them online.
10 - Open and aware communication: Let's maintain a constructive dialogue with our children, starting with an effort to get to know the digital world. We educate in a critical and responsible use of devices.
All the videos of the project "A Scuola di…digitale" are available here:
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