It seems every time you turn around a new study seeks to definitively answer the question: is screen time harmful to kids? It can be dizzying to keep up with it all when each new study says something different—but this latest research offers some hope.

New guidelines issued by the the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) in the United Kingdom state that there is little evidence to suggest that screen time is directly harmful to kids’ health and that it’s impossible to recommend age appropriate time limits. The RCPCH made a single recommendation: that screen time should be avoided for at least one hour before bedtime.

Photo: Nadine Doerle via Pixabay

Despite previous research that has linked screen time to obesity, mental health issues and even physical changes in the brain, the guideline suggests that emphasizing positive activities like exercise, socializing and sleep is more critical than placing limits on screen time. Rather than general limitations, parents should decide what is best for their own individual family.

“When it comes to screen time I think it is important to encourage parents to do what is right by their family,”Max Davie, RCPCH Officer for Health Promotion, said in a statement. “However, we know this is a gray area and parents want support. We suggest that age appropriate boundaries are established, negotiated by parent and child, that everyone in the family understands.”

—Shahrzad Warkentin

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