Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Too much screen time can psychologically harm kids

"More than two hours a day spent watching television or playing computer games could put a child at greater risk for psychological problems, suggests a new study.

...The odds of significant psychological difficulties were about 60 percent higher for children spending longer than two hours a day in front of either screen compared with kids exposed to less screen time, the researchers report in the journal Pediatrics. For children with more than two hours of both types of screen time during the day, the odds more than doubled.

...Dr. Thomas N. Robinson of the Stanford University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, said the new research was not enough to decipher whether the relationship between screen time and psychological wellbeing was truly cause-and-effect.

 ...Robinson noted that his own related research, conducted in this way, found that limiting screen time reduced weight gain, aggression and consumer behaviors in kids.

"There are already lots of reasons to reduce kids' screen time and this is potentially another," said Robinson. "In our studies we find that giving children a screen-time budget and helping them stick to that budget is the most effective way to reduce their television, video game, computer and other screen time, and to improve their health as a result."

"Parents as well as kids tell us that budgeting kids' screen time has profound positive effects on their families' lives," added Robinson.

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