Children under two should not have screen time according to new official health guidelines

No screen time

Children below the age of two should not be exposed to technology screens, and those under five-years-old should be limited to one hour a day, according to new guidelines.

Screen time for young children (opens in new tab) should be drastically limited following new recommendations from the World Health Organisation.

Limited screen time for tots in front of TV, iPads and laptops will help prevent future cases of obesity and disease.

The strict guidance comes following the global obesity crisis, which advises how children should spend their time – and this is not spending hours sitting in front of a screen.

Research claims limiting TV and smartphone time helps boosts a child’s brain development and physical skills.

The guidelines highlight the important of children carrying out exercise (opens in new tab) and physical activity rather than spending long periods of time inactive.

The guidance concludes: ‘Sedentary behaviours, whether riding motorised transport rather than walking or cycling, sitting at a desk in school, watching TV or playing inactive screen-based games are increasingly prevalent and associated with poor health outcomes.’

For children under one: ‘No sedentary screen time (watching TV, videos, computer games). Be physically active several times a day, including at least 30 minutes’ “tummy time” - lying on their front ’.

Those aged three-four: ‘No more than one hour of sedentary screen time. Less is better. At least three hours’ physical activity a day, including at least one of moderate or vigorous intensity. ’

No screen time

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Read more: New study shows that children as young as two can suffer from depression due to screen time 

However, the UK’s Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health maintains there is little evidence that screen use for babies or young children is harmful, although physical activity is recommended.

Dr Mike Brannan, from Public Health England, told The Sun: ‘Being active plays an important role in good health and development from an early age.

‘We need to help our children move more and sit less – every movement counts, whether playing, dancing or walking.’

Though the WHO latest advice is based on evidence, there is still a lack of research into the harms and benefits of screen time.