A recent study published in Pediatrics indicates that children who watch television or play computer games more than two hours a day have a higher risk for psychological problems. This study examined over 1000 children between 10 and 11 years of age, they are given a questionnaire regarding their television and computer game time, emotional state, behavioral problems, and social problems. Their physical activity was measured by an acellerometer device. If the children had more than 2 hours of screen time, their risk of psychological problems were 60% higher than those children who watched less than 2 hours. In addition, if the child had less than one hour of physical activity, the odds become even higher. The researchers compared other sedentary activity such as doing homework or reading to screen time and it appears that homework or reading time did not have the same negative psychological effect as television or video games.
Parents can start by limiting television and video games and encouraging more physical activity. In related studies, decreasing television and video games were associated with decreases in weight, aggression and consumerism.
For more information please check out our articles in Children Media Safety.