Video Games and TV Associated With Attention Problems In Children

School’s out and for many kids this means more TV and video game time during their summer vacation. While these forms of entertainment can be a fun distraction, experts say too much of it can be harmful to children.

A new study, “Television and Video Game Exposure and the Development of Attention Problems,” recently published on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) website, found that children who exceeded the 2 hours per day of screen time recommended by the AAP were 1.5 to 2 times more likely to be above average in attention problems. Early adults showed a similar association, suggesting that early video game exposure may have lasting consequences.

Researchers assessed 1,323 children in third, fourth and fifth grades over 13 months, using reports from the parents and children about their video game and television habits, as well as teacher reports of attention problems. Another group of 210 college students provided self-reports of television habits, video game exposure and attention problems.

As children grow and develop, they can be easily influenced by what they see and hear. While some television programs and video games can be educational, others have harmful effects, such as an impact on a child’s academic performance. Parents can help decrease these harmful effects by screening the type of programming and video games their kids are viewing and limiting the amount of screen time.

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