Children should not watch television until they turn two because it can hurt their language development and ability to concentrate, according to new guidelines for Australians.
The government recommendations, expected to be released next week, also say that children aged two to five should watch no more than an hour of television a day, The Australian newspaper reported Monday.
The draft guidelines, which have been designed for childcare centres but also offer advice for parents, are intended to help curb the spread of the obesity epidemic which has left Australian children heavier than ever.
"Based on recent research, it is recommended that children younger than two years of age should not spend any time watching television or using other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games)," they say.
"Screen time... may reduce the amount of time they have for active play, social contact with others and chances for language development," a draft copy of the guidelines obtained by The Australian said.
"(It may) affect the development of a full range of eye movement (and)... reduce the length of time they can stay focused."
The government would not confirm the report, saying that the guidelines were still being finalised.