TV Watching at Age 2 Spells Trouble Later
Study Finds Early TV Exposure Linked to Problems at Age 10
WebMD News Archive
Television Viewing and Kids: Effects
Television viewing had undesirable effects, even after the researchers
adjusted for a number of variables that might account for the effects, such as
family configuration and education of the mother, and the amount of TV they
viewed as fourth graders.
"We considered all kinds of competing explanations," Pagani tells WebMD. But
even after taking all the factors into account, the effects remained, she
"Basically we saw kids who watch excessive TV at 29 months were more likely
to be less productive in class [in fourth grade] as rated by their teachers,"
she tells WebMD. "They were performing less well in mathematics. We also saw
negative effects in anything that required effortful exercise -- how often they
exercised, whether they liked to do anything that requires effort. And their
body mass index was greater."
The children exposed to too much TV were also likely to be victimized, she
found, explaining that social relationships take practice and effort. "Kids who
do too much media, studies have shown this, tend to be socially isolated."
Not having social skills, she says, may make the kids targets for being
teased and insulted by classmates.
Each additional hour of TV viewing at age 29 months (over the average for
each child) was linked to a range of effects, Pagani found, including:
- 7% decrease in classroom engagement
- 6% decrease in math achievement
- 10% increase in being victimized by peers
- 13% decrease in physical activity on weekends
- 9% higher intake of soft drinks
- 5% increase in probability of being overweight as calculated by BMI
Television Viewing and Kids: Other Opinions
The new findings are no surprise to Ed Christophersen, PhD, a clinical child
psychologist at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo., who
reviewed the study results for WebMD.
The new research, he says, documents what he and his colleagues have
believed about the link between too much TV and developmental and other
''This study pulls together multiple measures that many of us thought were
affected by early TV, but now we know they are," Christophersen tells WebMD. He
reminds parents that TV time limits should also include "screen" time from
computers and other media.