Parents told to worry less about their children's screen time

Parents are being told to worry less about their children's screen time.

A study by leading UK paediatricians has found there is little evidence that screens are harmful for children and there is no need to set a time limit.

Children using screens on devices such as iPads and iPhones have gotten a bad reputation. Many worry about the impact on their health, but the study has turned that thinking on its head.

"Some people would like straight up no more than two hours or no more than three hours [and] bang that's done. But let's be clear... that's never going to work," says Prof Russell Viner from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

The study calls for more research, but it says there's currently weak evidence for a screen time limit. Their advice is that children should avoid screens one hour before bedtime.

And the main recommendation is it's the parents' responsibility to set the rules.

But that's been met with scepticism by parents in New Zealand.

"There's no technology in my house - I don't like my boy playing any of the games. I'd rather him outside and just being a Kiwi kid really," a local father told Newshub. 

"I think there should be a limit to kids on devices."

The country's biggest early childhood provider says technology forms part of their curriculum. Clair Edgeler, Best Start National Education Manager, says their focus is on targeted learning.

"That is the world that our children are coming into and living in - how do we teach them how to use technology safely and what could be the opportunities."

Children in their centres can only use devices if it's for interactive learning, but there's no time limit.

The UK study backs an approach that's more about balance, with experts emphasising that time on devices doesn't replace sleep, exercising and time with family.