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Kids’ screen time: report says not to worry or set limits

The BBC has published an article examining the science behind children’s use of mobile devices like iPhones and iPads. Contrary to popular belief, reports evidenced in the BMJ Open medical journal show no proof that screen time in itself is harmful to children.

Developed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the report says that although there is nothing inherently bad about screen time, if it’s interfering with other activities like sleep and exercise, that can (of course) have a knock-on negative effect.

“Dr Max Davie, officer for health promotion for the RCPCH, said phones, computers and tablets were a “great way to explore the world”, but parents were often made to feel that there was something “indefinably wrong” about them.”

The guide doesn’t recommend limiting screen time for kids, aside from trying to avoid use in the hour before bedtime. The overarching theme of the guide is to worry less if your children use devices a lot. Autonomy can be vital for older children and it’s best to educate them to be responsible with their own time based on their individual needs.

Further reading: nine ways to keep your device safe for kids

That said, for younger kids or those who wish to set specific conditions (time limits, adult filters, no games, etc.) iOS 12 introduced a suite of useful features you can find under Settings > Screen Time.