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US Paediatrics body wants restricted screen time for children, zero time for infants under 18 months

25 October 2016

The American Academy of Paediatrics has recommended that children younger than 18 months get zero screen time with devices ith screns, while those between ages 2 to 5 should be limited to one hour a day - half of its prior recommendation, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The academy recommends ''high quality programming'' during the hour and mandates that parents watch these with their children.

The academy has not recommended limits for older children, but suggested curtailing screen time before bedtime and when it conflicted with healthy activities.

The recommendations come as mobile devices including tablets, smartphones in the hands of children had become big business. Also time spent in apps from the ''family'' category on the Google Play store doubled in the past year, app-tracker App Annie reported.

Children aged 2 to 11 watched an average of four and a half hours a day of recorded programming, with over 50 per cent of Netflix Inc accounts world-wide watched some form of children's content, according to a spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, scientists from several universities say they now had evidence, that infants could make out the difference, between any ordinary video and a video call with their actual grandfather.

According to experts the ability to distinguish a  video broadcast from a video-based chat from infancy, which researchers had only recently confirmed, could have a profound effect on our understanding of the development of the human brain develops - and specifically, how technologies can play could play a role in shaping abstract concepts from infancy.

''Babies who are pretty young are able to pick up, in particular, whether or not an adult is actually responding to them in real time,'' said Elisabeth McClure, a researcher who focuses on children and media at Georgetown University, reported. ''

Some television shows try to imitate this. You see, for example, with Elmo, or on Blue's Clue's, they look directly at the camera and pretend to interact with the child. There's evidence that babies can tell the difference as early as 6 months old.''

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