Are there studies that dispel or prove myths related to TV-watching and video-game-playing? How much is too much?

asked 29 Nov '09, 21:57

YMCbuzz's gravatar image

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The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests limiting screen time (tv, video games, etc) to less than 2 hours a day (and no tv for those under 2). The Mayo Clinic claims that too much television has been linked to obesity, irregular sleep, behavioral problems, impaired academic performance, and less time for play. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has a "Facts for Families" article on both Children and Watching TV as well as Children and Video Games.

There are a lot of studies on both video games and tv (these are all from PubMed). There's a fair amount of controversy over video games and the effect they have on children. Dr. Anderson discusses myths and facts about video games. However, Dr. Jenkins also lists myths that seem to be in opposition to Dr. Anderson's opinions.


answered 30 Nov '09, 01:28

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Kiesa ♦
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According this article from the University of Michigan Health System website there have been several studies on the effects of watching television on children.

Here are some of the highlights that's I've copied and pasted.

As you can see, if your child is typical, TV is playing a very big role in their life. Here are some key research findings to keep in mind as you decide what kind of role you want TV to play in your family:

  • TV viewing is probably replacing activities in your child' s life that you would rather have them do (things like playing with friends, being physically active, getting fresh air, reading, playing imaginatively, doing homework, doing chores).
  • Kids who spend more time watching TV (both with and without parents and siblings present) spend less time interacting with family members.
  • Excessive TV viewing can contribute to poor grades, sleep problems, behavior problems, obesity, and risky behavior.
  • Most children' s programming does not teach what parents say they want their children to learn; many shows are filled with stereotypes, violent solutions to problems, and mean behavior.
  • Advertisers target kids, and on average, children see tens of thousands of TV commercials each year. This includes many ads for unhealthy snack foods and drinks. Children and youth see, on average, about 2,000 beer and wine ads on TV each year.
  • Some studies link early TV viewing with later attention problems, such as ADHD. However, other experts disagree with these results. One study found that TV viewing before age three slightly hurt several measures of later cognitive development, but that between ages three and five it slightly helped reading scores.

That being said, I personally agree with everything in moderation. I do believe that some programs can be educational for children and as bad as it may be sometimes it can give parents a short break. At times that break is necessary for everybody's well being.

Our daughter is exposed to some television, at this point she doesn't have the attention span to watch for long but can become intested in some of the songs. We do not watch anything we feel would be inappropriate in front of her. In the future we will likely set a daily limit to make sure she gets a balance of tv/video game time and physical activity.


answered 30 Nov '09, 01:31

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Tammy ♦♦
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edited 30 Nov '09, 01:37

+1 I think you have listed some very valid points .(in my experience that is ;-))

(01 Dec '09, 11:23) Emi

I think it's subjective and depends on what the parents prefer. I don't believe that watching television has any scientifically-proven ill effects on children, however I would prefer my child to watch no more than one hour of t.v. per day, ideally. I think kids should be encouraged to play outside and be active, as well as find other things to do around the house such as crafts, playing with toys and playing "pretend". The more they can use their bodies and imaginations the better.


answered 30 Nov '09, 00:20

DazedandConfused's gravatar image

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I have added my previous answer to a question How much tv is too much? because I felt that there were bits that could be helpful to you.

Since my previous, answer we have starting playing Wii with our 5 year old. We have found that 35-45 minutes playing with Wii is enough for her. During holidays and weekends we try not to exceed playing time even if its a family activity. Watching t.v remains the same as before and that is from 30 minutes to 2 hours per day. ( On days when Wii is played t.v time automatically seems to be reduced.

I think TV can be both equally positive and negative. I do not think that hours and hours of any kids channel can be particularly healthy.

I have observed the advertorials inbetween, and they are quite numbing, repetitions of the same toys over and over again. Depending on where you live I think TV can be used as an educational supplement provided that you and your partner are present during some programmes and are aware of the programmes your child watches.

We have a diverse mix of programmes that we record. These include an array of BBC programmes, some childrens programmes, nature and history programmes, movies old and new and so on. Then we watch certain programmes together as a family, and then continue to discuss the content afterwards if needed. She enjoyes this tremendously because as well as being challenging for her it also pleases her that it is a family activity so to speak.

The benefits of this has been an amazing amount of common sensical information that has been picked up and stored and used, at school, at home, and during conversations with us. She is 5 years old.

These include gems like, "Why do people have to fight, and make wars, when they know how to talk" or "I think I want to work with water when I grow up" we ask why? and the answer is very matter of fact " *well water is very very important for living"

So my answers would be yes for TV more or less everyday, and the times would vary depending on the type of programmes. from 30 minutes up to 2 hours in total.


answered 30 Nov '09, 12:47

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Asked: 29 Nov '09, 21:57

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Last updated: 30 Nov '09, 12:47