Senior medical chiefs warn children not to use mobile phones at the dinner table

Mobile phones should be banned from dinner tables and at a bedtime, Britain's most senior medical officers have claimed.

Such restrictions would help promote a healthier approach to devices, they said.

The four chief medical officers also argued for children to take a break every two hours from screen-based activities, under new guidance rules.

Other recommendations include talking as a family about the dangers that could be faced online and cyber-bullying.

It also said phones must not be used when crossing a road.

However, recent research has not proven a clear link between screen-based activities and mental health problems

Their findings, released in a report, comes as England's Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, is set to meet bosses at Instagram over the handling of self-harm and suicide content.

Prof Dame Sally Davies, England's chief medical officer, said tech companies had a duty of care to help keep children safe and that age limits for using social media needed to be properly enforced.

She also argued that children should not be pushed towards harmful content – one of the key concerns in the recent tragic Molly Russell case.

Links have been made between the teenager's suicide and her exposure to harmful material on Instagram.

Molly's father has claimed the material she viewed 'helped kill my daughter'.

Dame Sally said that if tech companies did help the government on the guidelines, the government would introduce legislation.

'They need to sort themselves out – to safeguard our children,' she said.

In response, Facebook said it backed the new guidance and said it wanted young people to be safe online.

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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