Study: Too Much TV Affects Kids' Behavior

By: Vinita Nair for CBS News
By: Vinita Nair for CBS News

NEW YORK (CBS) -- Two new studies suggest what your kids watch on television could affect their behavior. However, it’s not just what they’re watching, but how long they spend in front of the TV.

Television is a regular part of life at the Walsh house. With 6 kids, Kerre and John say it's one way to keep them entertained. The Walsh’s say they have TVs in practically every room in the house and in the cars. However, two new studies in the Journal Pediatrics say that TV could affect a child’s behavior.

New Zealand researchers looked at about 1,000 children and found the more TV children watch, the more anti-social and aggressive they can become.

“It also means more depression, more anxiety, more keeping to one’s self,” said Dr. Suzanne Kaseta.

Pediatricians are concerned not just about how much time children spend in front of the TV but also what programs they are watching.

In the second study, US researchers found pre-school aged children can imitate what they see on TV.

A lot of children's programming, even though it is children's programming, still shows a lot of violence.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests children older than 2 should watch less than 2 hours of TV a day, and that kids younger than 2 shouldn't watch any TV at all. The Walsh's have rules so the children know what they shouldn't be watching.

They also limit TV time during the week and make sure they spend most of their time outside, staying active.

In addition to being anti-social, researchers found kids who watch way too much TV are more likely to become criminals later on in life.

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