TV Linked to More Child Aggression
3-Year-Olds Who Watch More Television More Likely to Be Aggressive, Study Shows
WebMD News Archive
Nov. 2, 2009 -- Parents, here’s one more reason to turn off the television.
A new study shows that children who watch more television -- and even those who
are exposed to the television while other people in the home are watching --
are more likely to be aggressive.
Researchers examined data on 3,128 3-year-olds. Mothers of the tots answered
questions about how much time their children spent watching television during a
typical day, as well as how much television the children were indirectly
exposed to. Also, the children’s level of aggression was evaluated. The
children in the study were born between 1998 and 2000 and came from 20 U.S.
Researchers concluded that 3-year-olds “exposed to more television, directly
and indirectly, are at increased risk for exhibiting aggressive behavior.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics already recommends no television time for
children under 2. For children 3 and older, the AAP recommends no more than two
hours of media time per day. Despite these recommendations, most mothers in the
study -- about 65% -- reported that their children were watching more than two
hours per day. Besides the direct TV viewing time, children were indirectly
exposed to the TV for five hours on average on a typical day. The researchers
did not have information on the kind of TV programming viewed.
The findings took into account other factors for childhood aggression, such
as parent’s health, other children at home, and neighborhood environment.
Authors wrote that there could be many reasons for the link between
television and aggression. Possible reasons are that children who see violence
on television become desensitized to it; parents who don’t have limits on
television may be less likely to have other rules, such as regular bedtimes;
and when children are watching television, they are not participating in other
activities that may benefit their social development, such as playing.
Authors called for more research into possible recommendations for general
household television use.