Does Too Much TV Turn Kids into Criminals?
(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Many children sit down to watch their favorite television shows or movies on a fairly regular basis, but all that TV time could be leading them down a road paved with problems. A New Zealand study found that children who watch a lot of television have an increased likelihood of antisocial and criminal behavior in adulthood.
The link between watching a large amount of television and future antisocial behavior was discovered after researchers followed 1,000 children born in 1972 or 1973 in the same city in New Zealand. The children reported how much television they watched to researchers every two years between the ages of five and fifteen.
Once the participants began to reach adulthood, researchers noted any antisocial personality traits or criminal convictions.
Using the information gleaned from the study, researchers concluded that each hour of television watched on an average weeknight increased the risk of having a criminal conviction by early adulthood by an estimated 30%.
Although a link between television and antisocial behavior has been suggested in previous studies, this is the first time television has been shown to be a possible cause of the behavior. However, since the study relied upon observed information it cannot be proved that television causes antisocial outcomes, but an association can be seen.
What parents can take away from this study is that limiting how much television their kids watch may help them become better adults.
“While we're not saying that television causes all antisocial behavior, our findings do suggest that reducing TV viewing could go some way towards reducing rates of antisocial behavior in society," study co-author Bob Hancox, an Associate Professor at the University of Otago’s Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, was quoted as saying.
The recommended amount of television kids can watch each day is one to two hours, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. So switch off the tube and make the children play outside instead.
Source: Pediatrics, February 2013