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Rethink call on child screen time

Thursday January 22nd, 2015

A two hour limit on children's daily exposure to television and computer games may have become unrealistic, researchers have warned today.

Australian researchers set out establish how many children were complying with guidelines set out at the beginning of the century - before tablets and smartphones were widespread.

TV addiction and computer games have been blamed for growing levels of inactivity and obesity among children.

Their survey of some 2,620 children aged from eight to 16 found that 63% enjoyed more than two hours of screen time a day.

This included 45% of eight-year-olds and 80% of teenagers, they report in BMC Public Health.

The survey found that boys were most likely to spend more than two hours a day on computer games - but girls were most likely to spend the time on social networking, the internet and watching movies.

Researcher Stephen Houghton, from the University of Western Australia, said: "The introduction of mobile devices suggests the less than two hours per day recommendation may no longer be tenable given the surge in social media engagement and school derived screen use.

"Guidelines for appropriate screen use, should also take into account the extent to which screen use differs across form, activity, sex, and age."

Virtually Impossible: Limiting Australian children and adolescents daily screen based media use BMC Public Health January 2015, 15:5 [abstract]

Tags: Australia | Child Health | Fitness | General Health

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