The American Academy of Pediatrics is just one group among many which strongly recommends restricting the amount of time children spend in front of the television. There are good reasons for this recommendation, as regular readers of this blog already know.The more time children spend watching TV, the less sleep they’re likely to get, the less likely they are to be physically active, the less likely they are to read, and the more likely they are to suffer from overweight and obesity.
Adding to the concerns about the effects of too much time in front of the TV are the findings of a new study
by a group of researchers from New Zealand. The researchers tracked the amount of screen time of over one thousand children who were born in the years 1972-3, specifically between the ages of five and fifteen. The researchers continued to follow the children until they were twenty-six, looking for signs and symptoms of anti-social behavior such as criminal convictions, aggressive personality traits in early adulthood, and/or the diagnosis of an anti-social personality disorder.
You can probably guess where this is going. And indeed: controlling for a variety of factors, the researchers found a statistically significant correlation between greater television exposure and criminal convictions, aggressive personality traits in early adulthood, and/or the diagnosis of an anti-social personality disorder, in both males and females.
So do yourselves, and your kids, a favor. If they have a television in their bedroom, remove it. This will make it easier to supervise and limit what and how much they watch. They’ll be healthier, happier, and overall much better for it.
Dennis Rosen, M.D.
Help your child get a great night's sleep with the new ebook:
Successful Sleep Strategies for Kids (a Harvard Medical School Guide)