Norway says no to screen time for kids under two

Children under two are recommended to have no screen time under new guidelines for physical activity and free time issued by the Norwegian Directorate of Health on Monday.

A child using a tablet.
Kids under two are recommended to have no screen time. Pictured is a child using the tablet. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

For the first time, limits and curbs on screen time have been included in the Norwegian Directorate of Public Health’s advice for physical activity and leisure time.

Under the new advice, children under two are recommended not to have any screen time. Screen time should be limited to one hour a day for kids between two and five, according to the guidelines.

There were no such time limits for kids between six and 17. However, they are recommended to try and limit passive screen time in their free time.

“An important point for us is that the screen should not be used as a babysitter because putting children in front of a screen over a long period of time is not beneficial,” Bjørn Guldvog, health director at the Norwegian Directorate of Health, told newswire NTB.

“The point here is that there must be a balance. For children between the ages of two and five. It is better to emphasise that they should be physically active and have social contact,” Guldvog added.

In addition to the curbs on screen time, sitting still should also be limited as much as possible for people of all ages under the new public health advice.

Adults are also recommended to train strength at least twice a week and be physically active for between two-and-a-half and five hours a week, with at least half of that being moderate or high intensity.

READ ALSO: How good are Norwegian kindergartens according to parents?

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WHO says European festivals should go ahead despite monkeypox risk

Most new cases of monkeypox are currently detected in Western Europe. The World Health Organisation says this is no reason to cancel more than 800 festivals scheduled to take place on the continent this summer.

WHO says European festivals should go ahead despite monkeypox risk

The World Health Organization said Friday that European summer festivals should not be cancelled due to the monkeypox outbreak but should instead manage the risk of amplifying the virus.

A surge of monkeypox cases has been detected since May outside of the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic.

Most of the new cases have been in Western Europe.

More than 3,200 confirmed cases and one death have now been reported to the WHO from 48 countries in total this year.

“We have all the summer festivals, concerts and many other events just starting in the northern hemisphere,” Amaia Artazcoz, the WHO’s mass gatherings technical officer, told a webinar entitled “Monkeypox outbreak and mass gatherings: Protecting yourself at festivals and parties”.

The events “may represent a conducive environment for transmission”, she said.

“These gatherings have really close proximity and usually for a prolonged period of time, and also a lot of frequent interactions among people,” Artazcoz explained.

“Nevertheless… we are not recommending postponing or cancelling any of the events in the areas where monkeypox cases have been identified.”

Sarah Tyler, the senior communications consultant on health emergencies at WHO Europe, said there were going to be more than 800 festivals in the region, bringing together hundreds of thousands of people from different countries.

“Most attendees are highly mobile and sexually active and a number of them will have intimate skin-to-skin contact at or around these events,” she said.

“Some may also have multiple sexual contacts, including new or anonymous partners. Without action, we risk seeing a surge in monkeypox cases in Europe this summer.”

Risk awareness

The UN health agency recommends that countries identify events most likely to be associated with the risk of monkeypox transmission.

The WHO urged festival organisers to raise awareness through effective communication, detect cases early, stop transmission and protect people at risk.

The outbreak in newly-affected countries is primarily among men who have sex with men, and who have reported recent sex with new or multiple partners, according to the WHO.

People with symptoms are advised to avoid attending gatherings, while people in communities among whom monkeypox has been found to occur more frequently than in the general population should exercise particular caution, it says.

The normal initial symptoms of monkeypox include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a blistery chickenpox-like rash.

Meg Doherty, from the global HIV, hepatitis and sexually-transmitted infection programmes at WHO, said: “We are not calling this a sexually-transmitted infection.

“Stigmatising never helps in a disease outbreak,” she added.

“This is not a gay disease. However, we want people to be aware of what the risks are.”