Children who watch television for several hours will have health problems and it can also affect their brain development, according to a new study.

Dr Aric Sigman, an independent psychologist, said that children who watch more television are likely to develop several health-related problems and it can also affect their brain development. The study on a few children revealed that 12 to 15-year-olds spend an average of more than six hours a day slumped in front of screens, according to a Daily Mail report.

The psychologist also claims that in several homes children have access to more than one screen and they also have more than one smartphone. He found such children are likely to develop diabetes, heart-related problems, sleeping disorders and autism.

Sigman said parents should ban television viewing for toddlers. He claims that children will have fewer health problems if they are not allowed to watch TV. He said seven-year-olds should watch TV only for one and half hours and children above 17 years should watch only for a maximum of two hours.

"Passive parenting in the face of the new media environment is a form of benign neglect," the Daily Mail quoted Dr Aric Sigman, an independent psychologist, as saying. "A large number of studies are finding that parental rules and limits on child screen time effectively reduce screen time, as does not having screens in bedrooms."

Last month a Europe-wide report called for nurseries to ban televisions and called for parents to resist pleas to let children have them in their bedrooms, in a bid to fight obesity among young people, according to a Telegraph report.

"By 2025, nearly half of men and over a third of women will be obese, so we've got to start helping and empowering parents to do the right thing," BBC quoted Diane Abbott, shadow health minister in the UK, as saying.

Psychologists and doctors say that children should go out and play, as it is quite beneficial. They claim that children who play outdoors will have huge health benefits and that they will turn out active and smart.