Amount of Television Viewing in Early Childhood Negatively Impacts Later Functioning

shutterstock 56826280 Amount of Television Viewing in Early Childhood Negatively Impacts Later Functioning

A recent study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine reports that early television exposure has negative effects on children’s functioning at follow-ups as late as fourth grade. Dr. Pagani and colleagues examined the influence of television exposure at 29 months and changes in exposure by 53 months on psychosocial, academic, and lifestyle characteristics in the fourth grade. At 29- and 53-month follow-ups for 1314 children from the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development, parents were asked about the number of hours their children spent watching television each day.

When these children reached the fourth grade, teachers rated their academic performance, including mathematics and reading achievement, and psychosocial adjustment, including the child’s level of aggression and victimization by other children. Teachers also rated children on “classroom engagement” — a score that measured task orientation, compliance, and persistence. Parents were also asked to report hours of video game use during a typical week, physical activity, and dietary consumption of soft drinks, sweet snacks, and fruits and vegetables. Body mass index was measured by trained independent examiners.

Results revealed that every additional hour of television exposure at 29 months resulted in a 7% decrease in classroom engagement (95% confidence interval [CI], ?0.02 to ?0.004) and a 6% decrease in math achievement (95% CI, ?0.03 to 0.01), as well as a 10% increase in victimization by classmates (95% CI, 0.01 – 0.05) in fourth grade. Each additional hour of television viewing also resulted in a 13% decrease in time spent in physical activity (95% CI, 0.81 – 2.25) and a 9% decrease in activities that required physical effort (95% CI, ?0.04 to 0). For every added hour they spent watching television in early childhood, those in the fourth grade had a 9% higher consumption of soft drinks (95% CI, 0 – 0.04), a 10% higher intake of sugary snacks (95% CI, 0 – 0.02), and a 5% increase in BMI (95% CI, 0.01 – 0.05). The researchers controlled for a wide array of variables that could have influenced the study’s outcomes, including the child’s sex, temperament, behavior problems, and hours of sleep at 17 months of age. They also controlled for factors such as family makeup, family dysfunction, and maternal education during the same period. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television exposure during infancy and less than 2 hours per day beyond 2 years of age. However, the researchers found that television exposure among the children they studied ranged from a mean of 8.82 hours per week at 29 months to 14.85 hours per week at 53 months.

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Very useful information and confirms my fears of too much TV...however can these effects be reversed or is it too late by the time they get to 10yrs?


ur study was very impressive n informative.i would further like to know that wat type of viewing should be allowed in those hours. wat is the time limit for viewing for children between 3 to 5 yr



Effects of things such as this that can be injurious to the brain of children cannot be reversed(especially in infants) however there is always room for growth of synapses(the connections between neurons in the brain) and dendrites( a short branched extension of a nerve cell, along which impulses received from other cells at synapses are transmitted to the cell body).

which means any bad habits developed in early stages of child development can be OUTGROWN. not reversed though! essentially in children around the age of 10 years old, too much TV can still cause harm to neurons. so limiting TV to 2 hours a day seems a fair amount. The common adult watches TV for 3 and a half hours a day which is still damaging to the brain!

Hope this helped sorry for the length

Source< Grad Student in neuroscience with masters in psychology.