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Study finds three hours of TV adversely affects children’s behaviour

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By John Glenday | Reporter

March 26, 2013 | 2 min read

Parents with young children who allow their offspring spend in excess of three hours a day stooped in front of the television will suffer the consequences by the time they turn seven in the form of deteriorating behaviour – according to new research.

Psychologists monitoring children’s behaviour recorded an increased propensity to fight and steal amongst those spending the greatest amount of time watching the flickering images with children aged five most at risk of going on to develop antisocial characteristics by the age of seven.

Scientists working for the UK Medical Research Council stress that the increased risk is statistically tiny however and observed that playing video games has no ill effects.

US guidelines stipulate that young children spend no more than two hours per day viewing educational content but in the UK no formal guidelines are in place.

Report author Dr Alison Parkes said: “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.”

The research findings were based on feedback from 11,014 UK mothers.

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