The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised parents on the need to keep infants and toddlers under the age of 2 away from the screen. The advice is contained in a new guideline issued by the agency yesterday.
The said document, the global body recommends against any screen time for infants, as well as 1-year-olds. Instead, they encourage sedentary time “engaging in reading and storytelling with a caregiver” for up to an hour at a time. For children between ages 2 and 4, the agency advises up to one hour at a time in front of screens.
The recommendations are part of broader guidelines on physical activity, sleep and sedentary behaviour. The guidelines encourage more physical activity for infants and younger children, with up to 30 minutes of “tummy time” per day for infants, and at least 180 minutes of various physical activities for toddlers and older kids.
“Early childhood is a period of rapid development and a time when family lifestyle patterns can be adapted to boost health gains,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement.
Findings revealed that the guidelines for screen time are similar to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which suggests no screen time for kids up to 2 years old unless using a video-chatting app like FaceTime.
Multiple studies have linked too much screen time with physical and mental health issues. Last year, the American Heart Association issued a scientific statement urging parents to cut back on their kids’ screen time, saying it will increase the odds they become overweight or obese.