Screen time physically affecting Dutch kids, health service says

Teenagers with smartphones and tablets
Teenagers with smartphones and tablets. (Photo: shmeljov/DepositPhotos)

The use of tablets, smartphones and computers is physically affecting Dutch children, according to health service GGD. The service is increasingly receiving reports from schools about pupils suffering from eye disorders, unhealthy weights, neck complaints and a disturbed night rhythms - "consequences of excessive screen time", according to the GGD, newspaper AD reports.

The newspaper got its information from a GGD plan that will be presented at the Dutch Public Health Congress in Utrecht on Thursday. With this plan the GGD hopes to counteract the risks of excessive screen time and internet use as much as possible.

The GGD recommends that after 20 minutes of screen time, children take a short "pause" of 20 seconds not looking at a screen to prevent physical problems. In addition, children must spend at least two hours outside every day.

According to Edwin Mulder of GGD Gelderland-Zuid, who helped work out this plan for schools, kids between the ages of 10 and 18 years spend an average of five to seven hours a day looking at a screen.