More Than 3 Hours of TV-Viewing in 5 Year Olds Linked to Antisocial Behaviour

First Posted: Mar 26, 2013 07:57 AM EDT

Parents should monitor the amount of time their kids spend in front of the TV. Many studies have claimed that TV-viewing affects the child's intellectual capacities. However, there are other downsides to kids being plugged to their TV sets.

A latest study by researchers from Glasgow University emphasizes on the need for parents to curb the amount of time their young kids spend parked in front of the TV; because more than three hours of TV-watching is linked to an increased risk of anti-social behavior.

However, the same association was absent in kids who spent time playing computer or other electronic games. It didn't affect their behavior.

Extended screen viewing has been linked to adverse behavioral and emotional issues in kids, but this study focuses on just TV-viewing, and was conducted in the U.S.

Studies conducted earlier had linked TV-viewing during childhood to an increased risk of criminal behavior and decrease in children's muscular fitness. But the current study focuses on the psychological and social impact of the amount of time spent watching TV on children between the ages of 5-7.

The study included a sample of 11,000 children who were part of the Millennium Cohort Study. Researchers observed the long-term health and development of kids born between 2000 and 2002.

Their mothers were asked to complete a validated Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire (SDQ) that had five scales that measured hyperactivity, conduct problems, difficulty in making friends, emotional symptoms and empathy. Mothers had to fill this questionnaire when their kids were 5 years old and later again when they were 7 years old.

Apart from this, the researchers enquired about the time spent by kids in front of the TV at the age of 5.

The researchers noticed that nearly two-thirds of the kids were glued to their TV sets between one to three hours every day at the age of 5. Meanwhile, 15 percent watched TV for more than three hours every day, and less than 2 percent did not watch TV.

Those involved in watching TV for more than three hours a day were linked to increased chances of anti-social behavior between ages 5-7, such as stealing or fighting.

The authors were quoted in MedicalXpress stating, "The study "suggests that a cautionary approach to the heavy use of screen entertainment in young children is justifiable in terms of potential effects on wellbeing, particularly conduct problems, in addition to effects on physical health and academic progress shown elsewhere."

The study was published online in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

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