The WHO said the guidelines – which included recommendations for physical activity and sleep – were needed to address the increasing lack of physical activity, a leading risk factor for death and a contributor to the rise in obesity and behavioral problems.
Summarizing, the agency gave more than screentime limits. They also pinpointed sleep deprivation and the need for play and activity as being part of the culprit:
- Infants less than 1 year should spend at least half an hour in tummy time and not be restrained more than 1 hour at a time
- Children 1-5 years old should get at least three hours of physical activity every day
- Sedentary screen time no more than 1 hour; less is better. When sedentary, engaging in reading and storytelling with a parent is encouraged.
- Inadequate sleep has been linked with more time spent watching television and playing computer games
Children Who Get 2 Hours of Screen Time/Day Get Lower Test Scores
CBS’s 60 Minutes just reported a groundbreaking study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) analyzing how screen time affects the physical structure of children’s brains.
The first set of data is in now available from brain scans of 4,500 participants. Not a big surprise: Children who have more than two hours of screen time a day got lower scores on tests focused on thinking and language skills.
As screens proliferate, parents are becoming more nervous about the hours kids spend bathed in the blue glow of their iphones, TVs, and xboxes.
Silicon Valley Parents
The Koduris’ life is that of the stereotypical Silicon Valley family, except for one thing. The technology developed by Koduri and Shahi’s employers is all but banned at the family’s home. It should be a red flag!
There are no video game systems inside the Koduri household, and neither child has their own cell phone yet. Saurav and Roshni can play games on their parents’ phones, but only for 10 minutes per week. (There’s no limit, though, to the family’s growing library of board games.) The family did once buy an iPad 2, but for the past five years it’s resided on the highest shelf in a linen closet.
“We know at some point they will need to get their own phones,” stated Koduri, 44. “But we are prolonging it just as long as possible.”
Koduri and Shahi represent a new kind of Silicon Valley parent seeing firsthand how much time and effort goes into making digital technology simply irresistible. Instead of fitting out their homes with all the latest technological gadgets, many parents working or living in the tech world are limiting – and sometimes outright banning – how much screen time their kids get.
Turn these Guidelines & Recommendations into Reality
“Achieving health for everyone means doing what is best for health right from the beginning of people’s lives,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the W.H.O., 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.”
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