It’s no surprise. Too much television can be bad for your kids. A new study found “5-year-olds who watched more than three hours of TV a day were more likely to be antisocial.” This study was done in England and included 11,000 children. The mothers of these kids were questioned when the children were 5 and again when they were 7.
Researchers found that at age 5, two-thirds of these kids were watching television between one and three hours a day. 15 percent watched for more than three hours a day, and only 2 percent didn’t watch TV at all. Fast forward two years. Adding in other factors, researchers learned there was a significant connection between the kids who watched more than 3 hours of the tube a day and a slightly higher risk for antisocial behavior by age 7.
Additional studies have found other negative effects. KidsHealth.org reported the average American child sees 200,000 acts of violence by the time they reach 18. Its conclusion? Children were more violent and desensitized to violence.
The National Institutes of Health funded a study on the effects of TV and obesity. It found the hours spent in front of the television led to inactivity and a craving for foods of “low nutritional value.” A third study, most alarming to me, reported the more children were exposed to “adult content material” the more likely they were to become sexually active.
I’ve heard television called “a vast wasteland.” We wouldn’t want our children wandering around in this kind of environment … so listen to what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends: Parents should limit a child’s use of TV, movies, video and computer games to no more than one or two hours a day. That’s hard to do when parents are busier than ever and the television is a good diversion for their kids. But considering what I see at night when I flip through the channels looking for a decent program, it’s something to think about.