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Screen time warning from leading psychologist
Parents need to do more to stop children spending too much time watching television or playing computer games, according to a leading psychologist.
Dr Aric Sigman, will speak at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health's annual conference in Glasgow on 22 May to argue that children’s time spent in front of screens is linked to a sedentary lifestyle, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The amount of time spent in front of screens is at an all-time high - with children having access to an average of five screens in the home and often using more than one at once, such as a smartphone and the television.
He will also raise concerns that it might be changing children's brains as they develop.
In an interview with the BBC Dr Sigman said that: "there are concerns that it alters the reward circuitry in the brain" which may lead to "dependence".
"Whether children or adults are formally 'addicted' to screen technology or not, many of them overuse technology and have developed an unhealthy dependency on it."
He continued: "It is always the principle of caution in children, except for screen time."
He is arguing that children up to the age of three should have little or no screen time. Then a maximum of an hour-and-a-half up to the age of seven, and a maximum of two hours up to the age of 18.
The Department of Health said: "Physical activity offers huge benefits - all children should be encouraged to be active."
It said under-fives should spend as little time sitting still as possible.
Further information on the Government guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour for young people can be found at www.bhfactive.org.uk/guidelines
- Publication Date:
- 22 May 2012