Norway introduces recommendations for screen time

In March 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) came up with new guidelines when it comes to screen time. They recommend that children up to the age of two should avoid screen time, and children between the ages of two and five should preferably have less than one hour of screen time.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is now announcing new recommendations that reflect WHO’s guidelines.

– It’s about the children not gaining any screen time at that age, says Bjørn Guldvog, director of the Norwegian Public Health Agency, to the National Institute of Public Health, to NRK.

Among other things, screen time at an early age should affect children’s vocabulary, communication skills and eye contact.

Swedish FHM opted out of screen time

Marita Friberg, responsible for issues related to physical activity at the Swedish Public Health Agency (FHM), says that they made recommendations regarding physical activity as late as 2021. The recommendations were based on WHO guidelines, but FHM chose not to include screen time for children in these advices.

– We focus on limiting sitting still. No matter why you sit, says Marita Friberg and continues:

– What Norway presents (today) is an update of previous advice. When we introduced ours in Sweden in 2021, we had a dialogue with the Pediatricians’ Association and representatives from the child health care when it comes to what advice we should have for the youngest children. We were quite in agreement that it would be an advantage if you came up with simple advice on increasing movement and reducing sitting.

No recommendations in the near future

Marita Friberg believes that FHM focuses on making advice as simple as possible when it comes to physical activity, and therefore chose not to include screen time or reasons for sitting still.

– For the very young children, it is about not restricting movement and then it does not matter if they sit for long periods in a chair, a pram or in front of a screen. But it’s about sitting still in itself.

According to her, it may be relevant with advice for screen time in Sweden, but it is not something FHM will introduce in the near future. She believes that each country must adapt its councils to its population.

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Does a lot of screen time have a negative effect on children’s speech ability? Get the answer in the clip above. Photo: SVT

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