Urgent warning to parents who let their kids watch TV for more than two hours a day | The Sun

KIDS who watch more than two hours of TV a day are more likely to be addicted to drugs, gambling, cigarettes and booze when they grow up, scientists warn.

A study revealed children between five and 15 who are glued to their screens for longer time periods are 29 per cent more likely to have a gambling problem in adulthood.

Kids in this category were also 20 per cent more likely to be addicted to smoking.

They also had had a higher risk of booze and cannabis abuse compared to those who spent less time in front of screens.

Researchers from New Zealand suggested excessive TV timemay be an early sign of addictive disorder in children.

This makes them more prone to pick up other types of addiction in late life, they said.

It's thought people who have lower levels of the naturally occurring happy hormone dopamine and those who suffer with anxiety disorders are to be more at risk to addiction issues, the scientists explained.

A separate study found kid's screen time had rocketed since the Covid pandemic.

Ofcom figures show teens and under-35s watched an average of four hours of TV a day in 2020, plus another hour of YouTube clips.

Professor Bob Hancox of of University of Otago, NZ and lead author said: “Public health agencies have put great effort into advocating for safer alcohol use and safe sexual practices; similar campaigns could be used to advocate for safe screen use."

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The UK Government recommends children under five spend less than an hour per day using screens.

Some health experts have recommended that children aged five to 17 should limit their daily screen time to two hours.

Prof Hancox and his colleagues, who's findings were published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, studied the health data of 1,000 children, between 1972 and 1973.

The kids were called back for assessments every two years, between the ages of three and 15, to track their TV watching habits.

From 15 to 45 participants were screened every two to three years to assess four possible addictions.

Researchers found that 612 of 1,000 participants (62 per cent) watched more TV than the daily recommended amount in NZ (two hours).

The results revealed that a third (37 per cent) were diagnosed with an alcohol abuse disorder.

While another third, (36 per cent) were found to have a tobacco use disorder, while 18 per cent had a cannabis use disorder.

How long should kids be on screens?

IT seems that screens, be it TV or phones, are a part of our everyday lives, so it’s only natural for the next generation (our kids) to grow up using them too.

But how much is too much when it comes to technology and is there a right or wrong way to approach screen time? Well, it's complicated.

The Sun spoke with a development expert to find out:

Age 1-3 years old

How long: 1 hour per day

Dr Amanda Gummer, founder of The Good Play Guide says:

Dr Gummer says: "For younger children we feel that around 1 hour per day is a sensible limit to aim for on a regular weekday.

"Once you add together time on mobile devices, TV, computers and other devices with screens this may not seem like much (and remember children may get screen time at school)."

Age 2+

How long: 2 hour per day

Dr Gummer says: "Various sources including the American Academy of Paediatrics recommend no more than 2 hours per day (for children aged 2 and over)."

Children of all ages

Over two hours a day is excessive usage

Dr Gummer says: "A recent study saw some detrimental effects in teenagers that used more than 3 hours per day of screen time and consider this ‘excessive usage’

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