By Jack Doyle and Ben Spencer Science Reporter For The Daily Mail
Published: 22:00 GMT, 1 February 2019 | Updated: 10:03 GMT, 2 February 2019
Parents will officially be told to limit children’s screen time to protect their health.
For the first time, guidelines will state how long youngsters should be allowed to spend on video games, television, mobile phones and tablets.
Children should break off at least every two hours and avoid social media before bedtime, according to the guidance from chief medical officer Sally Davies. It comes amid concern about the harm technology can cause. Ahead of the advice’s release next week:An academic blamed Instagram for the suicide of her 11-year-old daughter and demanded a crackdown on social media sites; Children too young to be allowed social media accounts told researchers that getting around lax age restrictions was a ‘game’; A Church of England bishop said online firms should pay heavy fines if they failed to take down damaging content; A study found that children who looked at screens before bedtime were far more likely to be sleep-deprived during the week.
Dame Sally will next week conclude there is no definitive link between use of technology and growing levels of mental health problems among children and young people.
How the Daily Mail reported Ian Russell's accusation that social media contributed to his daughter's suicide
Online firms should pay heavy fines if they fail to take down damaging content that leads children towards distress and self-harm, the Bishop of Gloucester said yesterday.
The Right Reverend Rachel Treweek called for large fines for social media giants if they leave harmful posts up for 24 hours or more after the first complaint.
Bishop Treweek said: ‘I would like to see a much more robust system of reporting. Young people need to feel in control when they report something that upsets or harms them.’
But she is expected to point toward a possible ‘association’ between social media use and mental ill health and call for more research into the issue. She is not thought to be proposing any daily cap on the amount of time children use such technology.
Department of Health officials stressed that Dame Sally is still finalising her recommendations. But Whitehall sources said the report will suggest that after two hours of screen time, children should go and do something different, such as exercise or play.
She will also highlight the possible risks of