Our family has used FaceTime more often in the past six weeks than we have in the past several months. We are FaceTiming multiple times a day with relatives and friends. During a time like this it is important to check on each other and stay connected. 

Because our family is on FaceTime at least an hour per day talking with relatives and friends, it made me wonder, is video-chatting considered screen time?  Can my toddler learn from video-chatting?

A study published in Child Development in 2014 suggested that at 2 years of age, children can learn words from live video-chatting with a responsive adult. 

I was unable to find a paper that clearly stated that video-chatting is not considered screen time. However, many health care professionals, including myself do not consider video-chatting screen time. My personal opinion is that during COVID-19, video-chatting is helping us stay connected.  Our family is video-chatting with family and friends frequently. Similar to when watching television or playing apps, it is the best to be video-chatting along side your little one so they understand what is happening on the screen.

This post was co-authored by Stephanie Liu, MD, MSc, CCFP, BHSc and Erin Manchuk, BScPharm, BCGP .