Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Too Much TV Linked to Behavior Problems

More Than 2 Hours of Television a Day Harms Children’s Social Skills, Study Shows
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 1, 2007 -- Watching more than two hours of television a day may lead to behavioral problems among young children, according to a new study.

Researchers found that children who watched more than two hours of television per day from age 2 1/2 until age 5 1/2 were more likely to develop sleep, attention, and aggressive behavior problems than those who watched less.

In addition, researchers found 5 1/2-year-olds who watched more than two hours of television per day also had fewer social skills.

Researcher Kamila B. Mistry, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and colleagues say the results suggests that the timing of television exposure among children may be significant, and they highlight the need to monitor children’s television use, especially during the early childhood years.

TV Affects Children’s Behavior

The study, published in Pediatrics, involved more than 2,700 children whose parents were interviewed by telephone about their television viewing habits at age 2 1/2 and again at 5 1/2.

The results showed that 16% of parents said their child watched more than two hours of television a day at age 2 1/2, compared with 15% of 5 1/2-year-olds who watched more than two hours of TV per day.

Twenty percent of parents reported that their child watched more than two hours of television per day at both ages. This sustained exposure to television was associated with problems with sleep, attention, and aggressive behavior.

Early exposure to television was not associated with any problems with social skills, but watching more than two hours a day at age 5 1/2 was linked to fewer social skills.

The study also showed that 41% of children had a television in their room by age 5 1/2, and having a television in the bedroom was associated with sleep problems and less emotional reactivity at age 5 1/2.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not having a television set in children’s bedrooms and discourages television viewing among children under 2 years old, with no more than two hours per day of TV recommended for children over 2.

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
 
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
 
mother and daughter talking
Tool
child brushing his teeth
Slideshow
 
Sipping hot tea
Slideshow
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Video
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
Article
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
 
tissue box
Quiz
Child with adhd
Slideshow