It follows concerns by medical professionals of associated health problems like changes in blood chemistry, obesity, attention problems and reduction in sleep hormones.
The report by biologist and psychologist Dr Aric Sigman says the Government should come up with specific guidelines and parents should be informed.
“Not just in New Zealand but in many countries, there needs to be more linkage between the departments of education which always talk about more screen time – they see it as the future, and the department of health which sees screen time as a health issue.”
He says a study in the last couple of weeks has also found found young people using screens in the evenings in their bedrooms, reduces sleep hormones.
“They need to fall asleep that evening and when you test their alertness the next morning it is down.”
It’s contained in a report commissioned by Family First.
Spokesman Bob McCoskrie says they wonder if it’s time for New Zealand to put out more specific guidelines, as other countries are.
He says the report is critical of Government agencies’ lack of guidelines for families.
Kids’ screen time a health risk – Family First
3News 9 February 2015
Family First says children are spending too much time watching screens and it’s a health issue.
The lobby group has issued a report by psychologist Dr Aric Sigman highlighting the health consequences of discretionary screen time, and is calling on the government to “become more vocal”.
The majority of children in New Zealand are spending more time watching screens than they should be, the group says.
“Yet the ages at which children start viewing screens and the number of hours watched per day is increasingly linked to negative physiological changes, medical conditions and development outcomes including significant sleep disturbances, attention problems and impulsiveness, and children are more susceptible to developing a long-term problematic dependency on technology.”
The group says the Ministry of Health only issues guidelines for screen use outside school time and the Ministry of Education leaves the issue to individual schools.