No TV for children under 3 years

Allowing children under 3 years to watch TV can impair their linguistic and social development and puts them at risk of health problems, a psychologist told MPs yesterday.

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Dr Aric Sigman said letting young children watch as little as an hour and a half of television a day could put them at increased risk of health problems, including attention-deficit disorder, autism and obesity.

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Dr Sigman, an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society and member of the Institute of Biology, said exposing children to fast-moving images at a very young age for a sustained time may inhibit their ability to sustain attention. And children who were left for long periods with only a screen to interact with, not only had less time to speak to adults but also failed to develop social skills.

He believes children under 3 years should not watch TV, and those between 3 – 7 years should watch 30 minutes to an hour a day.

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A Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman said the government had no plans to introduce a recommended “daily allowance” rationing the amount of TV children watch.

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