The recently published WHO (World Health Organization) recommendation about the amount of time spent in front of the screen (tv, tablet, phone) is widespread. It’s not a coincidence that this is hot topic nowadays, as the presence of mobile touchscreen devices (MTSD) at childhood is a relatively new phenomenon.
Yet, the effects of MTSD use are mostly unknown, as not a single generation has grown up whilst having digital devices since their birth, and it has just begun to address this issue at a scientific level. On the other hand, it is clear that time spent on digital devices or watching TV significantly increases the amount of time spent sitting on a daily basis. Even the youngest children “get stuck” before screens for longer or shorter period of time.
The focal point of the WHO report is to draw attention to the risks associated with sedentary behaviour, such as:
- cardiovascular diseases
- metabolic problems (eg diabetes, obesity)
- musculoskeletal problems
- mental difficulties (eg depression)
The key message of the recommendation is therefore that time spent in sedentary activities, especially in front of the screen, should not be at the expense of movement, especially in childhood, and besides the balance of sedentary and physical activities, adequate sleep is also needed to maintain good health.