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Too Much of Television and Video Games can Lead to Attention Problems in Children

People have long blamed television viewing as a reason behind the attention problems that their children are facing. Now playing video games has also been associated with attention problems. 

A study by Edward Swing, an Iowa State psychology doctoral candidate, in collaboration with Douglas Gentile, an associate professor of psychology from Iowa State University, Craig Anderson, a Distinguished Professor of psychology; and David Walsh, a Minneapolis psychologist has been published in Pediatrics which states that viewing television and playing video games are associated with increased subsequent attention problems in childhood.

The research analyzed the television and video games habits of 1,323 school going children during a 13 months period. They got reports from the parents and teachers about any attention problems that the children were facing. They also got self reports of television and video game habits and attention problems from another group of 210 college students. The research found that children who spent more than 2 hours in front of the screen were 1.2 to 2 times more likely to develop attention problems. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that the screen time of the children should be limited to not more than 2 hours every day. In America, the national average is much more than 4.26 hours per day. According to Swing and Gentile, ADHD is a problem pertaining to brain. Watching a lot of television or playing video games in excess, trains the brain in such a manner that it is looking for constant stimulation, flickering lights, changes in sound and camera angles, etc. When such a child goes to school, the classroom environment does not provide him this kind of mental stimulation and the child ends up suffering from ADHD.

The researchers have stressed that television and video games are not the sole reason behind the development of attention problems. However, there is definitely an association between the two. Further studies are required to pinpoint what aspects of television and video games are directly related to attention problems.

Further Reading

Obesity in Pre-School Children is Related to Their Daily Routine At Home


Saturday, May 21, 2011
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