Watching TV will not harm children

Watching TV will not harm children

As an Child Psychologist I am often asked if watching too much television is harmful for young children. A recent study sheds some light on that question.

Young children who watch three hours or more of the television a day are at no greater risk of hyperactivity or emotional problems than other children, according to the largest British study of its kind into TV viewing habits and childhood mental health.  The findings, published in Archives of Disease in Childhood, were based on interviews with the mothers of 11,014 children, and indicated that two-thirds of five-year-olds typically viewed between one and three hours of TV and electronic games per day.  A 1.3% increase in conduct problems at the age of seven was found for this category of TV viewing, though the scientists who carried out the survey dismissed this link as too weak to be meaningful, particularly in light of potential additional influences such as family and social environment.  According to them, watching TV may actually be good though they didn’t find any positive influences on prosocial development either.  Sonia Livingstone, Professor of Social Psychology at the London School of Economics, said. “At last we have a robust, longitudinal study that reveals a balanced picture… If five-year-olds watch more than three hours of TV per day, research detects a small but noticeable negative effect on their conduct, though no effect on hyperactivity or emotional problems.  So, no cause for panic, but good reason to ask why some children spend so much time watching TV”.

 

Source:  The Independent, 26 Mar 2013