Paediatricians in the US have called for families to limit their kids' screen time to one or two hours a day and make a 'media use plan' to set rules for TV, mobile phones and other electronic devices.
The call was made in a policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Communications and Media. It also said that parents should not allow children to have TVs or computer equipment in their bedrooms.
One of the report's lead authors, Dr Marjorie Hogan, insisted they were not 'media bashers' but simply wanted youngsters to be able to use technology for 'good'.
"A healthy approach to children's media use should both minimise potential health risks and foster appropriate and positive media use-in other words, it should promote a healthy 'media diet'," she said.
"Parents, educators and pediatricians should participate in media education, which means teaching children and adolescents how to make good choices in their media consumption."
She said that media can influence kids' lives in many positive ways, and as an example cited Sesame Street which has reportedly been proved to help preschoolers learn about empathy.
She also said technology was important for older children, but that it was all about balance.
"For teens, connectivity, being connected to your peers, having a chance to create your persona, can be a really positive thing," Dr Hogan said.
The AAP recommended that along with limiting screen time and keeping Internet-connected devices out of kids' rooms, mums and dads should monitor what their children are accessing online, and watch TV shows and movies with them.
It also said that children under two years old should not be watching TV or other screens at all.
Dr Hogan said that for children of that age 'there's just no benefit'.
Do you agree?
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