Technology

Facebook welcomes screen time advice from UK's top doctors

Social networks react to chief medical officers' advice on screen time and social media.

Facebook has welcomed new guidance from the UK’s top doctors on managing social media and screen use.

Advice issued by the chief medical officers on Thursday suggests that families should ban phones at bedtime and keep them away from the dinner table, among a number of recommendations to help protect children.

“We want the time young people spend online to be meaningful and, above all, safe,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in response to the guidance.

“We welcome this valuable piece of work and agree wholeheartedly with the chief medical officers on the need for industry to work closely together with government and wider society to ensure young people are given the right guidance to help them make the most of the internet while staying safe.”

Facebook stepped up efforts to improve user screen time management last year, with the introduction of a new tool to help people see how much time they spend on the social network and its Instagram photo sharing app, with daily reminders and a way to limit notifications.

Twitter also reacted to the new advice, saying: “At Twitter our primary objective is to serve and improve the health of the public conversation.

“This means surfacing more quality, credible content, building new policies and safety tools, and tackling issues such as abuse which detract from the health of the public conversation.

“We introduced over 70 changes in 2018 to make the service healthier and safer, as well as better machine learning technology to help us proactively tackle problematic content. This is paying dividends and we will continue to build on this momentum in 2019 with our singular focus on protecting the customers we serve.”

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