Thursday, October 14, 2010

Too much TV and computer time can psychologically damage kids

Earlier this week, the journal Pediatrics published a study that found the risk of psychological difficulties increased by about 60 percent when kids between 10 and 11 years old spent more than two hours daily watching TV or playing on the computer. These difficulties include how they relate to peers, emotional issues, hyperactivity or conduct challenges.

Previous studies have linked excessive TV viewing with childhood obesity, and both TV and computer use have been associated with psychological problems and an increase in sedentary time, according to background information in the study.

This particular study wanted to see if high physical activity levels could compensate for the adverse effects associated with high TV and computer use.

The risk of psychological difficulties went up even more for children who weren't active during the day, with a 70 percent risk of psychological problems for sedentary children who watched more than two hours of TV, and 81 percent for those who spent more than two hours on the computer.

Surprisingly, being highly physically active didn't offer much protection against psychological difficulties if children already clocked more than two hours of screen time each day. The risk of psychological difficulties was still increased by about 50 percent for the highly active group when they spent more than two hours watching TV or using the computer, according to the study.

While excessive TV and computer use may create problems with a child's emotional well-being, the study wasn't designed to determine a cause-and-effect relationship between screen time and psychological problems, or if troubled youngsters are simply more likely to spend more time with TV and computers.

While parents can limit their kids time on the TV and computer, it can't be avoided altogether. When your kids watch TV or play on the computer, make it quality time. Exploramania offers a 30 minute fun, active, educational Exploracise Gymathtics DVD that will get kids moving, learning and having a great time while they watch TV. Look for educational websites that are also fun yet educational. Make learning fun for the kids so that their media time is time well spent with positive benefits.

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