A recent study published in Pediatrics indicates that children who watch television or play computer games more than two hours a day have a higher risk for psychological problems.
This study examined over 1000 chidren between 10 and 11 years of age. They were given a questionnaire regarding their television and computer game time, emotional state, behavioral problems, and social problems. Their physical activity was measured by an accelerometer device.
If the children had more than 2 hours of screen time, their risk of psychological problems were 60% higher than those children who watched less than 2 hours. In addition, if the child had less than one hour of physical activity, the odds became even higher. The researchers compared other sedentary activity such as doing homework or reading to screen time, and it appeared that homework or reading time did not have the same negative psychological effect as televison or video games.
Parents can start by limiting television and videogames and encouraging more physical activity. In related studies, decreasing television and videogames were associated with decreases in weight, aggression and consumerism.