Children who watch less TV behave better

ISLAMABAD: Children who spend less time in front of a television or computer screen get more sleep, are slimmer, do better at school and are better behaved, a new study has revealed.

Researchers found parental monitoring of the time children spend watching television, playing video games and being online can be associated with more sleep, improved school performance and better behaviour in children, Fox News Reported.

The new study, published in JAMA Network Journals, included figures from more than 1,300 schoolchildren from two communities in Iowa and Minnesota, in the U.S., along with data about the students provided by primary caregivers and teachers.

The figures were collected as part of an obesity prevention programme.Study lead author Dr Douglas Gentile, of Iowa State University, said: `The results suggest that increased monitoring by parents reduced children’s total screen time which results in children getting more sleep, doing better in school and having less aggressive behaviour.

`The results suggest more sleep is associated with a lower body mass index.

`More parental monitoring also resulted in less exposure to violence on television and in video games, which was associated with increased positive behaviour and decreased aggressive behaviour.’

He added: `Paediatricians, family practitioners, nurses and other health care professionals who encourage parents to be more involved in their children’s media may be much more effective at improving a wide range of healthy behaviours than they realise.’

The findings support those of another recent U.S. study that showed children who spend a lot of time in front of screens are more likely to be obese.

The study, by researchers at the Oregon Social Learning Center, Eugene,showed the children of parents who do not monitor screen time are more likely to be overweight.

Another study, by researchers in Australia, revealed children who watch a lot of television have more family problems.

Researchers at Deakin University, in Melbourne, found that for every hour of screen time, the risk of family life being disrupted may be doubled.

They also found that these children have poorer emotional wellbeing.