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The World Health Organisation Release Screen Time Guidelines for Children

Screen Time Guidelines

Screen time has become a serious concern, especially amongst children who get exposed to screens sometimes from infancy. The World Health Organisation, the UN’s health unit, realised that there’s an increasing issue surrounding screen time with children and has released screen time guidelines on what it considers is healthy for children.

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According to the screen time guidelines released by the WHO, children under the age of 5-years should not be watching screens for more than an hour a day, with the WHO suggesting that less is even better.

Children under the age of 18 months should not be watching screens at all, save for a video chat. The screen time guidelines go on to suggest that parents with children under the age of 2-years should expose their children to “high-quality” education programming. The WHO also suggests that children be monitored while watching a screen so that their time can be limited and also to help them understand what they are seeing, and engage with the content rather than just staring at the screen alone. Children under the age of one year should have zero screen time according to the guidelines from the WHO. The organisation recommends that caregivers of infants under the age of one year should rather read to them and tell them stories, instead of exposing them to screens.

The goal the WHO hopes to achieve with its screen time guidelines for children

[A]re to provide recommendations on the amount of time in a 24-hour day that young children, under 5 years of age, should spend being physically active or sleeping for their health and wellbeing, and the maximum recommended time these children should spend on screen-based sedentary activities or time restrained.

The WHO goes on to note that inactive behaviours in children, which is helped by screen time like watching TV or playing games, are “associated with poor health outcomes“. The organisation notes the benefits of less screen time “include reduced adiposity, improved motor and cognitive development and psychosocial health.

The screen time recommendations from the WHO comes just after Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, encouraged iPhone users to spend less time on their devices.

Do you allow your children to have screen time? Let us know your thoughts on these recommendations in the comments section.

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Nastassja Robberts
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