“No consistent evidence” that screen time is harmful to children | Pocket Gamer.biz

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A study by the UK’s Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has failed to find conclusive evidence of screen time harming children’s’ health at any age.

In its screen time guidance report, said to be the first of its kind, RCPCH stated that it cannot give age-appropriate guidance to parents on how long is too long for their children to be looking at screens.

“Studies in this area are limited but during our research analysis, we couldn’t find any consistent evidence for any specific health or well-being benefits of screen time,” said RCPCH health promotion officer Dr Max Davie.

“Although there are negative associations between screen time and poor mental health, sleep and fitness, we cannot be sure that these links are causal, or if other factors are causing both negative health outcomes and higher screen time.

“To help us develop a better understanding of this issue, I urge both more and better research, particularly on newer uses of digital media, such as social media.”

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Even if screen time itself isn’t dangerous, however, the report still encourages parents to establish boundaries for their child’s screen use, phone or otherwise.

There may not be physical links, but excessive screen use was found to distract children from feeling full, leading to increased chances of obesity. Care should also be taken to ensure children don’t prioritise screen time over more important activities like eating or sleeping.

“We suggest that age-appropriate boundaries are established, negotiated by parent and child that everyone in the family understands,” said Davie.

“When these boundaries are not respected, consequences need to be put in place. It is also important that adults in the family reflect on their own level of screen time in order to have a positive influence on younger members.”

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