Children under the age of 1 should avoid the on-screen time and children under five should not receive more than one hour per day, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended in their first guide on Wednesday.
A WHO expert panel developed the guidelines as part of general guidelines on physical activity, physical inactivity and sleep disorders for children under the age of 5 years.
"Improving physical activity, reducing sitting time, and ensuring a good night's sleep in small children improves physical and mental health and well-being, and helps to prevent childhood childhood obesity and related illnesses later in life." Prevention of noncommunicable diseases at WHO, said a press release.
"If you're sedentary, it's recommended to read with a caregiver and tell stories," the WHO said. The guidelines also require that children between the ages of 1 and 2 have at least three hours of physical activity of any intensity throughout the day. It should be noted that failure to comply with the current physical activity recommendations is responsible for more than 5 million deaths worldwide per year across all age groups.
However, some child and health experts disagreed with WHO conclusions.
"Our research has shown that there is currently insufficient evidence to support the definition of screen periods," Dr. Max Davie, health improvement officer at the UK Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, told the Associated Press. "The limited screen time limits proposed by the WHO do not seem to be appropriate for the potential harm," he said.