Extra Hour of Television Hurts Children's Chances in School

First Posted: Aug 09, 2013 04:44 PM EDT

Too much time sitting in front of the television can be bad in a number of ways for a child. Yet a new study has linked every hourly increase in daily television watching starting at age two-and-a-half years of age to problems with classroom engagement, victimization by classmates and even problems with physical ability in kindergarten.

"This is the first time ever that a stringently controlled associational birth cohort study has looked at and found a relationship between too much toddler screen time and kindergarten risks for poor motor skills and psychosocial difficulties, like victimization by classmates," Professor Linda Pagani of the University of Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine children's hospital said in a news release. "These findings suggest the need for better parental awareness and compliance with existing viewing recommendations put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP discourages watching television during infancy and recommends not more than two hours per day beyond age 2. It seems that every extra hour beyond that has a remarkably negative influence."

The study looked at 991 girls and 1,006 boys in Quebec whose parents reported their daily television habits as part of the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development. Researchers found that results showed that children that looked at a screen at home and did not account for television watching in childcare settings were more likely to have various problems.

Watching an extra hour of television beyond recommendations set by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) can diminish a preschooler's vocabulary and math skills, as well as their attention span in the classroom and elsewhere. 

The AAP currently discourages watching television during infancy and recommends not more than two hours per day beyond age two.

The findings are published in the journal Pediatric Research

©2017 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. The window to the world of science news.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics