WHO’s New Guidelines Say Children Under 1 Should Get Zero Hours Of Screen Time

Screens have become so common these days that there is always more than one in majority of the homes. While screens keep us connected and entertained, they do come with many downsides too apart from hurting our eyesight. Along with adults, even children these days have become used to the smart devices that they watch cartoons on when their parents are busy tackling our responsibilities. But should infants, at little as 1 year old, be exposed to screen time?

Latest guidelines set by the World Health Organization say that children under the age of 5 should not dedicate more than an hour to screen time in a day. Spending less time than this is even better. Whereas for children who are below 1 year of age, WHO says that they shouldn’t be given any screen time. This echoes what the American Academy of Pediatrics had said – children under 18 months shouldn’t get any screen time apart from video conferences.

The WHO also stated that children aged 5 and under should also be physically active and should get ample sleep as these two can promote good health in the long run. The early years of a child’s life form the foundation of lifelong behaviors which is why it is essential to start instilling good habits from earlier on rather than later. By sleeping enough and staying active, diseases later in life can be prevented. The organization noted that lack of sleep is associated to increased body mass index.

It also said that less time spent sleeping was linked to more time watching the screen of a television or video game. These new guidelines recommend that infants and younger kids should get at least 180 minutes of physical movement and say that leisure time should be spent “engaging in reading and storytelling with a caregiver.” Previously many studies have concluded that excessive screen time is not good for health and can up the risk of obesity.

These guidelines have been set based on several researches from different parts of the world including Canada, the United States, Australia, and South Africa. As per WHO, sedentary lifestyles, and increased screen time are becoming very common. Some groups believe that the health organization’s new guidelines fail to see the many benefits of screen time. People think that the idea that children shouldn’t be made to spent anytime looking at the screen is impractical.

Since it’s women who juggle all the housework along with taking care of their children, it isn’t possible for them to keep their babies entertained without a device in this age along with preparing dinner. Moreover, some experts think that there are also some benefits of screen time and not all screen time is bad. They think what the child is watching also makes a difference. The WHO didn’t get into too much detail about why screen time should be restricted.