ABU DHABI // Children in the region spend nearly four and a half hours every day with technology – more than double the time recommended by experts.
Kids Compass, a survey by Turner, a division of Time Warner, showed that on average children spend two hours watching television, 1.2 hours on a tablet or mobile phone and another 1.2 hours playing games online or on a console.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation limits access to entertainment media to one or two hours a day.
Dr Haneen Jarrar, child psychologist at Camali Clinic in Dubai, said: “More than four hours of screen time per day is very high for a child. These figures are very alarming. We see a lot of children watching seven hours of TV a day and some of them are as young as two years old.”
She said research had shown that children who watched more than four hours of television a day were “more likely to be overweight and those who see violence on television are more prone to aggression”.
The survey found that six out of 10 mothers believed watching television was beneficial to a child because it allowed them to connect with the outside world.
Dr Jarrar said this was a misconception.
“Watching TV or playing on a tablet is time spent away from play and social interaction and will interfere with development. Children learn from outdoor play,” she said.
“They need play to develop critical…
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