According to a recent study, the time children spend in front of the screen is having an effect on their growth and development, especially if the TV is in a private place like the bedroom.
Photograph: Kind courtesy Sony.co.in
A recent study says that too much time in front of the bedroom TV hinders proper growth in children.
The paper was published in a paediatric research journal and talks about how the early years are a critical period for a child’s development and how watching a lot of TV deprives the child of enriching developmental activities, causes less optimal body mass, poor eating habits, and socio-emotional difficulties as a teenager.
"Intuitively, parents know that how their children spend their leisure time will impact their well-being over the long term, and with TV being their most common pastime, it's clear that the many hours they spend in front of the screen is having an effect on their growth and development, especially if the TV is in a private place like the bedroom" said study author Linda Pagani.
To test the hypothesis, the researchers longitudinally followed a birth cohort to examine whether there was a link between having a bedroom TV at age 4, during the neurodevelopmentally critical preschool period, and later physical, mental, and social problems in early adolescence. Their goal was to eliminate any pre-existing conditions the children or families had that could bias our results.
The researchers analysed Canadian birth cohort data of 1,859 Quebec children born between the spring of 1997 and the spring of 1998.
To assess the health of kids at age 13, independent examiners measured the children body mass index; adolescents also reported their intake of unhealthy foods.
To measure psychological problems, teachers rated how much emotional stress the children faced; the teens also completed a short version of the Children's Depression Inventory.
For social problems, teachers reported on how the kids got along with their peers and whether they were bullied.
The result of the study were that having a TV in the bedroom at age 4 made it more likely the child would later have a significantly higher body mass index, more unhealthy eating habits, lower levels of sociability, and higher levels of emotional distress, depressive symptoms, victimisation and physical aggression, regardless of individual and family factors that would have predisposed them to such problems.
Pagani said, "The location of the TV seems to matter. Having private access to screen time in the bedroom during the preschool years does not bode well for long-term health. Our research supports a strong stance for parental guidelines on the availability and accessibility of TVs and other devices."
Lead image published for representational purposes only.