2 Hours Of TV Or Computer Gaming: Find Out What They Do For Your Kids
Researchers at the University of Bristol in England conducted studies on the effects of TV and computer use on children's psychological test scores. Their PEACH Project was to determine if watching TV and/or using computers for non-educational purposes was the cause for psychological difficulty scores or if the scores were caused by being sedentary as a bi-product of watching TV or using the computer. The study results were surprising and should be of concern to parents.
The PEACH Project collected data on more than 1,000 10-and-11-year-old kids. The data related to the children's mental health test scores and the amount of time spent watching TV and/or use of the computer for non-academic purposes. The kids also wore activity monitors to check their levels of physical activity.
There were two significant findings of these studies:
1. That the children who watched TV and/or used the computer recreationally for two hours or more per day had higher levels of psychological difficulty than their peers who viewed these screens for less time per day; and
2. That of the children who watched TV and/or used the computer for two hours or more per day and had high activity scores, the higher activity levels did NOT reduce the kids' psychological difficulty scores. In fact, sedentary kids had BETTER psychological adjustment scores. Furthermore, those who exercised moderately had fewer emotional problems and better peer relations, but had more behavioral problems.
The investigators, therefore, suggest that parents limit the time their kids spend watching TV and using the computer recreationally.
To sum up the results, Angie Page, lead author of the study published today in Pediatrics, wrote:
Whilst low levels of screen viewing may not be problematic, we cannot rely on physical activity to 'compensate' for long hours of screen viewing.
Watching TV or playing computer games for more than two hours a day is related to greater psychological difficulties irrespective of how active children are.