There has been little in the way of official guidance in the past when it comes to screen time and the impact on the physical health of children and young people. This often leaves teachers and other professionals at a loss about what sort of guidance to provide those in their care.
This has changed thanks to a study published recently by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), which makes it clear that children should not have screen time at least an hour before bedtime.
Dr Max Davy, officer for Health Promotion of the RCPCH, describes the danger of screen time not “as a harm in itself but something that could potentially displace other beneficial activities, like sleep.“.
The truth is; Context is key.
The guidelines pose a list of questions that parents and carers should ask themselves before setting limits on screen time at home;
1. Is your family’s screen time under control?
2. Does screen time interfere with what your family want to do?
3. Does screen time interfere with sleep?
4. Are you able to control snacking during screen time?
The official guidance
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This information allows teachers and professionals the chance to inform and promote healthy screen time behaviours in their pupils through support and information sharing among children, young people, colleagues and their communities.
Of course, every child and young person is different, the guidance simply gives us the chance to ask questions that will help us make smarter decisions. How they interact with the screens is also vital to consider, learn more about the four categories of screen time in the ‘Screen Time’ section of the ‘Need to Know’ course.