Children who watch less-violent television have better behavior, according to a new study. While the results were modest, they could help find new ways to help young children avoid aggression.
The study focused on preschoolers’ behavior and their interaction with violent and non-violent television, according to The Associated Press.
Lead author Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician and researcher at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, stated of the study:
“It’s not just about turning off the television. It’s about changing the channel. What children watch is as important as how much they watch.”
The study involved 565 parents in Seattle who filled out television-watching diaries and questionnaires that measured their child’s behavior.
Half of the parents were instructed for six months on how to get their children to watch shows like Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer instead of shows like Power Rangers. The other half of the group received tips on healthy eating instead.
Children in both groups showed improved behavior after six months, though the group coached on television watching showed a little bit more. The New York Times notes that Dr. Thomas N. Robinson, a professor of pediatrics at Stanford who wasn’t involved in the study, stated:
“Here we have an experiment that proposes a potential solution. Giving this intervention — exposing kids to less adult television, less aggression on television and more prosocial television — will have an effect on behavior.”
The researchers noted that low-income boys saw the most improvement in behavior, though they did not say why. Does the study about behavior in children and the television shows they watch have an impact on you? Do you monitor the television shows your child watches?
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