(CNN)There is little evidence that screen time is in itself harmful to a child's health, says new guidance published by British pediatricians, which avoids setting limits on screen time use for children of all ages.
Little evidence that screen time is harmful for kids, say doctors
The guidance, released by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) in the UK, says it is impossible to recommend age appropriate time limits, but does, however, recommend avoiding screens an hour before bedtime to help children sleep better, according to a press statement.
The report suggests families place value on positive activities such as exercise, socializing and sleep as when these are replaced by screen time, a child's wellbeing is affected.
To date, screen time has been linked to obesity, mental health problems, heart disease and educational failure, but "the evidence base for a direct 'toxic' effect has always been contested," according to the report.
Russell Viner, RCPCH President and professor of adolescent health at the UCL Institute of Child Health in London, told CNN: "We need to recognize that screens are ubiquitous in the modern world. We can't put the genie back in bottle."
"Although there are negative associations between screen time and poor mental health, sleep and fitness, we cannot be sure that these links are causal, or if other factors are causing both negative health outcomes and higher screen time," added Max Davie, RCPCH Officer for Health Promotion, said in a statement.
The report also highlights that there is no consistent evidence of specific health or wellbeing benefits of screen time either and calls for more research into the area, "particularly on newer uses of digital media, such as social media," according to Davie.