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CONSISTENT, FREQUENT TV VIEWING CAUSES BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics in a report issued in October, 2007: Consistent, heavy television viewing (more than two hours a day) throughout early childhood can cause behavior, sleep and attention problems. In the new study, “Children’s Television Exposure and Behavioral and Social Outcomes at 5.5 Years: Does Timing of Exposure Matter?” researchers assessed data from the Healthy Steps for Young Children national evaluation effort pertaining to the effects of early, concurrent and sustained television exposure at age 2.5 years, and again at age 5.5 years. The effects of having a television in the child’s bedroom were measured at age 5.5. Sixteen percent of parents reportedthat their child watched television more than two hours a day at age 2.5 years only (early exposure), 15 percent reported that their children watched more than two hours of television daily at 5.5 years only (concurrent exposure), and 20 percent reported more than two hours of television viewing daily at both times (sustained exposure). Forty-one percent of children had a television in their bedroom at age 5.5. Sustained television viewing was associated with sleep, attention and aggressive behavior problems, and externalizing of problem behaviors. Concurrent television exposure was associated with fewer social skills. Having a television in the bedroom was associated with sleep problems and less emotional reactivity at age 5.5. Early exposure to television for more than two hours a day, which decreased over time, did not cause behavior or social problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no television viewing for children under age 2, and no more than two hours of daily media exposure for ages 2 and older.

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