Real life boring for TV children

NZ Herald September 05, 2007
Children who watch too much television could be overstimulating their brains, think real life is boring in comparison, and be missing out on activities such as reading and sport which promote and encourage concentration. A ground-breaking new study from Otago University has found that children who watch too much television are more likely to have difficulty paying attention when they are teenagers. The study is the first in the world to look at the possible long-term link between television viewing in childhood and attention problems in adolescence. Researchers found children who watched more than two hours of television a day (and particularly those who watched more than three hours) had above-average symptoms of attention problems in adolescence.Symptoms included short attention span, poor concentration and being easily distracted. The findings could not be explained by early-life attention difficulties, socio-economic factors or intelligence. The findings, published in the latest issue of the US journal Pediatrics, come out of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study at the University of Otago.The study followed more than 1000 children born in Dunedin between April 1972 and March 1973. The amount of time they spent watching television was recorded every two years between the ages of 5 and 11. Attention problems were reported by the children themselves, and their parents and teachers. Previous studies by the unit have linked children’s excessive television viewing to obesity, a range of health problems in young adulthood, as well as lower educational achievement.