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Study: More TV for Kids May Lead to Criminal Behavior as Adults [POLL]

Image courtesy flickr user akasped

Two recent studies are claiming that more TV time for kids could lead to to more anti-social and criminal behavior as adults. That’s gist of the studies, one from The University of Otago in New Zealand, and the other from The University of Washington and published in the online version of the medical journal Pediatrics.

The New Zealand study followed 1000 kids born in the 70′s from ages 5 to 15 until they were 26 and found a strong correlation between exposure to TV in childhood to anti-social behavior as young adults. It also linked excessive viewing to aggressive personality traits. Even when issues such as intelligence, social status and parental control were factored in, the links remained strong.  Co-author, Associate Professor Bob Hancox says in the study;

“The risk of having a criminal conviction by early adulthood increased by about 30 per cent with every hour that children spent watching television on an average weeknight. While we’re not saying that television causes all anti-social behavior our findings do suggest that reducing television viewing could go some way towards reducing rates of anti-social behavior in society.”

Effects of Reduced TV Viewing Fleeting

The University of Washington study followed 565 Seattle parents and their kids. One control group was allowed to view TV as they normally would, the other was given guidance on alternatives to TV time. That study did find links of increased anti-social behavior in the control group with more TV time, while the other group exhibited signs of reduced ‘naughtiness’.

However, the lead author, Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician and researcher at Seattle Children’s Research Institute says the results are modest and faded over time. He told the Associated Press;

“It’s not just about turning off the television. It’s about changing the channel. What children watch is as important as how much they watch.”

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