Originally published in the dailymail.co.uk on February 2 and 14, 2014
What effects do multiple hours of daily TV viewing have on toddlers? It's a long list—and none of the outcomes are good ones. The Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development asked nearly 2,000 families to log their 29-month-olds' TV viewing time (among other aspects of the study), then correlated the amount of screen time with behavior and developmental problems that emerged later in kindergarten. Researchers found that significant problems started cropping up at the threshold of 2 hours and 52 minutes of TV time daily. Children who watched more than that had diminished vocabulary and math skills, shorter attention spans and were more likely to be bullied. And every extra hour of daily TV viewing past the three-hour mark noticeably worsened those outcomes.
"This is the first time ever that a stringently controlled associational birth cohort study has looked at and found a relationship between too much toddler screen time and kindergarten risks for poor motor skills and psychosocial difficulties, like victimization by classmates," said Linda Pagani of the University of Montreal and The Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre. "These findings suggest the need for better parental awareness and compliance with existing viewing recommendations put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP discourages watching television during infancy and recommends not more than two hours per day beyond age 2. It seem s that every extra hour beyond that has a remarkably negative influence." dailymail.co.uk, 2/14/14
Teens who spend more than three hours playing violent video games daily may be impairing their moral development, according to scientists at Brock University in Ontario, Canada. Researchers theorize that excessive exposure to violent imagery paired with diminished social contact makes it more difficult for teens to tell right from wrong. Additionally, adolescents engaged in too much violent gaming were less likely to empathize with others. The study involved 109 13- and 14-year-old boys and girls, and it surveyed what kinds of games they played and how much time they spent playing. Eighty-eight percent played games, and more than half played daily, with violent games (defined as those which involved killing, maiming or torturing other human beings) were among the most popular. Writing in the journal Educational Media International, the research team added, "Exposure to violence in video games may influence the development of moral reasoning because violence is not only presented as acceptable but is also justified and rewarded." dailymail.co.uk, 2/6/14