A Moment of Science

TV: How Much Is Too Much For Kids?

A study finds the time spent staring at a screen could have a psychological impact on kids.

four kids sitting on the ground watching tv

Photo: Mike Webkist (flickr)

Studies show that the TV screen can have negative psychological effects, as well.

TV has some pretty unflattering nicknames: boob tube, idiot box, baby-sitter…

Perhaps this is because we sometimes take our TV watching to an unhealthy level. Common sense tells us that too much TV isn’t good for anybody. But how much is too much? What about for kids?

Staring At The Screen

You may think that the main problem with kids watching TV is the fact that they are sitting still instead of playing and getting exercise. This may be very true, but a new study suggests that staring at a screen can actually have negative psychological effects as well.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that on average children spend two hours or less at a screen, that includes both TV and computer.

TV Tests

This experiment was conducted with children ages 10-11. They were asked how much time they spent in front of a TV or computer screen daily. The first thing that was found was that this time had very little correlation with the time they spent getting exercise.

So what else did they find?

Children who spent more than two hours a day in front of a screen tested to have significantly more behavioral problems, even if they got plenty of exercise too!

Now this doesn’t mean that TV or computers are the cause of behavioral problems. It just shows that a correlation does exist. It has been suggested that TV may be a distraction or coping mechanism for children who are having problems with school or family life.

Healthy communication is always important to have with your children. Don’t let your TV become a “baby-sitter!”

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Molly Plunkett

is a journalism student at Indiana University and an online producer for A Moment of Science. She is originally from Wheaton, IL.

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