-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- Five-year-olds who watch
television for three or more hours a day are a bit more likely to
fight, steal and have other antisocial behaviors by the age of 7, a
new study suggests.
The researchers also found that time spent playing computer or
electronic games had no effect on children's behavior, according to
the report published online March 25 in the
Archives of Disease in Childhood.
For the study, the investigators analyzed data gathered from
about 11,000 children in the United Kingdom who were born between
2000 and 2002. When the children were ages 5 and 7, their mothers
filled out a questionnaire designed to assess how well-adjusted the
children were, and also provided information about the amount of
time their children spent at age 5 watching TV and playing computer
or electronic games.
At age 5, nearly two-thirds of the children watched TV for
between one and three hours a day, 15 percent watched TV for more
than three hours a day, and less than 2 percent watched no TV. Only
3 percent of the kids spent three or more hours a day playing
computer or electronic games when they were 5 years old, the study
After taking into account other factors, such as parenting and
family dynamics, the researchers concluded that there was a
significant association between watching TV for three or more hours
a day at age 5 and a "very small" increased risk of antisocial
behavior by age 7.
But watching a lot of TV was not associated with emotional or
attention problems, the authors noted in a journal news
These findings -- and previous studies showing that too much
screen time can have a harmful effect on youngsters' physical
health and schooling -- suggest that parents are right in limiting
TV time for their children, concluded study author Alison Parkes,
of the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and colleagues.
The study found an association between increased TV watching at
age 5 and a small increased risk of antisocial behavior at age 7,
but it didn't find a cause-and-effect relationship.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about
children and screen time.
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