Pediatricians and providers often need quick, simple ways to discuss digital media with families. To help, we developed The 5 Cs of Media Use.  

The 5 Cs is a mnemonic that can be used to talk to parents about kids and screens. They are: Child, Content, Calm, Crowding Out, and Communication. Along with this approach, we’ve created a series of five age-based handouts to give to parents at well-child visits.  

Based on current research and evidence, the handouts start by informing parents about their children’s developmental stages, how this influences media use, and healthy media habits to strive for at home. 

The 5 Cs are designed to meet kids, teens and parents where they are, build insight and communication skills, and motivate for healthy behavior change.  

For more information on how to use the 5 Cs, please view our 5 Cs user guides below.

5 Cs User Guide for Clinicians 5 Cs User Guide for Parents

The 5 Cs Downloadable PDFs


Infancy (0-18 months)


Toddlers & Preschoolers (2-4 years)


School-Aged Children (5-10 years)


Young Teens (10-14 years)


Older Teens (15-17 years)


The 5 Cs were inspired and built upon the work of journalist & author of books about media and children, Lisa Guernsey. The Three Cs were first described in the book Into the Minds of Babes (2007) and then Screen Time (2012) and Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in a World of Screens (2015). 



Funding for the Center of Excellence was made possible by Grant No. SM087180 from SAMHSA of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, SAMHSA/HHS or the US Government.

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American Academy of Pediatrics