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WHO: Kids under 1 should have zero screen time

The World Health Organization has created its first guidelines on kids and screen time.

NEW ORLEANS — How often do your kids play with phones or tablets? New guidelines claim children less than a year old shouldn't have screen time at all. 

This week, the World Health Organization issued its first ever guidelines for screen time for kids under 5-years-old, saying kids a year old and younger should get no screen time including TV, except for video chat. It says kids 2-4 should get no more than an hour of screen time a day, but less is better. Dr. Joy Osofsky with LSU Health Pediatrics and Psychiatry agrees.

"Sitting in front of a screen is just not going to help them with their motor development or their social, emotional development," said Osofsky.

The guidelines go beyond just screen time. WHO's report claims kids need more play and sleep.

"Children learn in the context of relationships," Osofsky said. 

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Its all about interaction. According to WHO guidelines, kids 1-5 need 180 minutes of physical activity a day. Babies less than a year old need 14-17 hours of sleep a day, 4-11 month old babies need 12-16 hours of sleep, 1-2 year-olds need 11-14 hours of sleep and children 3-4 need 10-13 hours of sleep. 

Osofsky said she doesn't believe screen time is harmful in moderation, but only under certain circumstances like on an airplane or in a restaurant when a child needs to be still. 

The idea behind these guidelines is to replace prolonged sedentary time with active play. WHO believes the guidelines will improve physical and mental health, and prevent childhood obesity. 

ALSO: World Health Organization calls for global elimination of trans fats by 2023

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