Children under the age of three are being urged to forego the pleasures of television viewing by psychologist Dr Aric Sigman.
Sigman warns that a new generation of telly addicts are growing up spending more time in front of the goggle box than at school with the average 10 year old having no less than five screens available to view.
This is fuelling an explosion in onesity, cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, as well as attention problems, an impaired ability to form social bonds and other psychological problems.
Writing in the Archives of Disease in Childhood Sigman claimed that parents are using tablets, game consoles, televisions, smartphones and laptops as ‘electronic baby sitters’, arguing that their use has created the ‘three parent family’.
To remedy this Sigman urges parents to delay introducing their children to television until at least the age of three and limiting those up to the age of seven to just half an hour of screen time a day.
This allowance could then increase slowly up to a maximum of just 2 hours for those aged 16 and over.
Sigman concluded: “Britain and European medical establishments should consider screen time as a separate entity from sedentary behaviour, and offer an advisory on the average number of hours per day young children, in particular, are viewing screen media, and the age at which they start.''