Young children exposed to screens in the morning three times more likely to have speech difficulties, says French study


Young children exposed to screens in the morning three times more likely to have speech difficulties, says French study

French health service guidelines advise parents not to allow children under three to watch screens, in line with a World Health Organization recommendation that under-threes should not watch TV or sit playing games on a tablet. 

But British experts have challenged the WHO recommendation, saying there is insufficient evidence to back it up. They also argue that it fails to recognise that not all screen time is bad for children. 

The Royal College of Paedriatrics and Child Health warned last year that the advice could unduly alarm families raising children in cramped housing without outdoor space to play

In France, two-thirds of children under 3 watch TV every day and half begin watching before the age of 18 months, according to the National Institute of Health and Medical Research. 

Michel Desmurget, a neuroscientist at the institute, described passive screen watching by young children as “a major public health problem”. 

Dr Desmurget said: “We already know that exposure to screens, which is now reaching stratospheric levels, is conducive to language difficulties, but this study is the first to reveal the impact in the morning. Face-to-face interaction over breakfast is essential.” 

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