World Health Organisation issues strict screen time guidelines for kids under 1

Posted in Entertainment and Technology.

No screen time whatsoever is the best amount of screen time for kids under one.

No screen time – ever

That’s according to the latest regulations issued by the World Health Organisation.

“Achieving health for all means doing what is best for health right from the beginning of people’s lives,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. “Early childhood is a period of rapid development and a time when family lifestyle patterns can be adapted to boost health gains.”

The organisation suggests that any “sedentary time” i.e, those short periods in the day when your little one is not moving around, should be devoted to reading stories and playing quiet games and not sitting in front of a screen. 

To be clear, the screen time ban applies to all forms of electronic media – computer games, mobile phones, television and iPads.

As your child gets older, these regulations change somewhat – but the recommended time frames may be somewhat shorter than you anticipate.

Less is best 

In the same announcement, the WHO said children between two and four years of age should have “no more than one hour per day” in front of a screen, but “less is better.” Reading books and telling stories are again the preferred choice for that age group when they are not running around the house and garden, making a mess!

Unsurprisingly, these new recommendations have been met with some pushback from other child-focused organisations.

Not everyone agrees

For example, Oxford University professor, Andrew Przybylski, recently told Time magazine that the WHO regulations ignore the more important argument: the screen time debate should be around quality, not quantity.

While his colleague, Dr Max Davie an Oxford Officer for Health Improvement said, “There is not strong enough evidence to support the setting of screen time limits.”

Perhaps the most compelling response to these regulations came from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which suggested that while the one-hour time limit on screens is fine, the focus should be more on the way a parent interacts with the child while they’re using it.

They’re encouraging parents to a) make sure their kids are watching, “high-quality programming” and b) to watch with their children and “[re-teach] in the real world what they just learned through a screen.”


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