Are you worried that too much screen time is bad for your kid’s behavior? According to a new study by the Medical Research Council (MRC), there is a very slight chance you may have reason to be.
Mothers of roughly 11,000 kids in the United Kingdom assessed how many hours their children spent playing video games and watching TV at the age of 5, along with a rating of their mental health and social savvy, reports The Atlantic. When the kids turned 7, moms rated them again.
The study found that there was a minor rise in behavioral problems like bullying, fighting and stealing for 7 year olds who spent three hours or more a day in front of the TV when they were 5. Kids who spent hours glued to their Xbox or Wii didn’t show the same increase.
So does that mean that kids who watch too much TV are more likely to fight and steal? According to the study’s lead author Dr. Alison Parkes, the study found a “very small predictive effect” between excessive screen time and conduct problems in kids, but not an established cause and effect relationship.
“The difficulty is we don’t know what they were watching because we didn’t have the detailed information,” Dr. Parkes told BBC. “So we would still like to caution parents to keep their eye on what their children are watching and ideally watch television with their children, and talk about what they’re seeing on screen to help them interpret it. It’s possible that what we’ve seen -- this very tiny effect on antisocial behavior -- is just the tip of the iceberg, because it does seem to fit in with other US research on the effects of violent television in prompting more aggressive behavior in young children.”
Do you think that watching TV makes kids more aggressive? Leave a comment.