South African children are spending more than three hours per day looking at screens – excluding for school work.
This is according to the 2018 Healthy Active Kids South Africa (HAKSA) report from the University of Cape Town’s Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA).
The recommended daily screen time for children in school is two hours, for preschoolers one hour and none for children under two years of age.
Rhodes University’s Professor Harry Dugmore said advertisers will use social media to market fast food and soft drinks directly to children with the rise of smartphones.
“This is concerning because social media, and the online space, in particular, is the Wild West in terms of unregulated and fairly intense and intimate access to children and adolescents’ attention.”
The report, released on Tuesday, was compiled by 30 experts from 14 institutions and organisations.
It found more than nine out of 10 (94%) of infants and toddlers in low-income and urban areas reportedly exceeded the recommended screen time and “more TV time was related to unhealthy weight”.
Close to 10% of three to five-year-old children were overweight and one in four were stunted.
About half of the country’s children are getting the recommended levels of daily physical activity which is between 57 and 65 minutes.
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By: Nico Gous
Source: TMG Digital