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Is What Your Child Watching on TV Influencing Their Bad Behavior?

Is What Your Child Watching on TV Influencing Their Bad Behavior?When it comes to what our kids are watching on TV and the toys that they are playing with, we take violence very seriously. Before we had children, my husband and I discussed how we think we would like to handle violence in the house, toy weapons, and how that would come into play with our children.

Since our kids, we’ve been quite strict on what they are allowed to watch and play with and as they get older, we modify that list as their ability to take in the process of what’s real and what’s imaginary increases. I have a feeling that we may be more on the cautious side when it comes to violence we allow our children to see, but a new study suggests that may work to all our advantage.

A new study published today in Pediatrics shows that limiting what your child watches, not limiting how much TV they watch, can have a positive impact on their behavior.

The study looked at 565 families with children aged 3 to 5-years-old and were evaluated after 6 months and then again at 12 months. The researchers assisted the parents in substituting “high quality pro-social and educational programming for aggression-laden programming without trying to reduce total screen time” and what they found was pretty interesting.

The researchers reported that at 6 months after families’ reduced their child’s exposure to aggressive and violence-filled programming,  the children in the study demonstrated statistically significant improved behavior compared to children whose media diet went unchanged. When the families were re-evaluated at 12 months, the study noted a decline in difficult and aggressive behavior while noting an increase in healthy social behaviors such as empathy and concern for others.

This study suggests that if you’re child is exhibiting difficult behavior, it appears to be beneficial to modify what they’re watching and not just how much time they spend in front of a screen.

Photo credit: adapted from iStockPhoto
Study:  Pediatrics,  February 19, 2013

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