Dr Arun Mandepanda Thimmiah, a GP at the Abbey Road Surgery in Barrow, gives advice on health issues in his weekly column. This week, he addresses concerns about the amount of time a child may be spending staring at a screen.

Many of us are spending more time looking at a screen than ever before. In particular children are using screens more than ever, which is understandably concerning for some parents.

There’s a number of things you can do to mitigate any effects.

If you use a computer at work, there’s a good chance you’ve done a workplace risk assessment.

These are often a checklist to ensure that the monitor is at the right height and distance, that your chair is adjusted to the right level and you have plenty of room for your hands.

It’s important to ensure you have a similar set-up at home, as it helps to reduce strain on your eyes, wrists and back.

Ensure that children have adequate space and lighting for their home schooling, check their posture and ensure they are not sitting too close to their screen.

Ensure you and your children have regular breaks, for every 50-60 minutes of screen time have a five to 10-minute break.

Try to ensure you have longer breaks where possible and spend time as a family away from screens.

Socialising is very important for all of us, and children in particular have strong social circles, so it’s important to nurture these appropriately.

Ensure your children don’t spend too long online, whether playing games or on social media, but be understanding that they may feel more isolated than usual.

Here are eight screen time tips from the UK’s chief medical officer.

  • Leave phones outside the bedroom and get enough good-quality sleep
  • Make sure that children follow their school’s policy on screen time
  • Advise children to put their phones away while crossing the road
  • Put screens away at meal time
  • Parents and carers should never assume that children are happy for their photos to be shared; when in doubt, don’t upload
  • Get up and move every couple of hours after spending time sitting or lying down using a screen
  • Make sure children know they can always speak to you or a responsible adult if they feel uncomfortable with screen or social media use
  • Make use of device or platform features that track how much time is spent using screens or social media.