File image: The New Zealand Herald

Parents should not encourage children to take selfies, as it risks them only experiencing life ‘through a lens', a leading psychologist has claimed.

Dr Elie Godsi said children must be allowed to escape from the ‘sedentary world' of mobiles, computers and TV.

Families should encourage children to play outside, instead of confining them to indoor activities that can lead to ‘excessive exposure' to screens and social media. 

The consultant clinical psychologist said the ‘constant pressure' to post pictures of themselves online means children can miss out on real-life experiences.

Youngsters should have ‘real fun' instead of ‘pretending' to be enjoying themselves for the camera because of worries about how they will appear to their friends.

Godsi said: ‘Selfies should not be encouraged. There is a place for taking a few photos, as a way to help families share memories but the constant pressure to post on social media means there's a risk that they [children]  don't experience anything except through a lens.'

His comments came as a survey of 2,000 parents by outdoor education provider Kingswood found the biggest source of quality time among families is watching TV together, with 68% saying this was their main activity.

© Daily Mail