Kids Who Watch More Than 3 Hours of TV A Day Are More Antisocial
The study found that five-year-olds who watched more TV had an increased risk of developing antisocial behavior like fighting and stealing by the time they turned seven years old.
But researchers say that the risk was very small and that it did not find any impact on behavior from playing computer or electronic games.
This is not the first study to correlate behavioral problems with watching television.
In America, pediatric guidelines recommend that a child should not spend more than two hours a day watching television, and that the child should only watch educational, nonviolent shows.
Dr. Alison Parkes, a member of the Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow, said that the newest study did not give any evidence supporting a maximum TV limit for young children.
"Initially we found that watching more than three hours' TV a day was associated with an increase in all problems, but this disappeared when we adjusted for other family influences. There was a small effect on one type of problem. The drawback is we don't know what the children were watching," she said.
In the study, mothers of 11,014 children were asked to record typical hours of daily TV watching and hours of electronic game use.
They also completed questionnaires about the child's behavior, emotional symptoms, peer relationship problems, hyperactivity/inattention and ability to socialize at ages five and seven.
When the children were age five, nearly two-thirds of them watched TV between one and three hours a day. Only 15 percent watched three hours or more.
The children who watched three hours or more a day at age five had a predicted .13 percent increase in behavioral problems by age seven.
Behavioral problems included fighting, disobedience or stealing.