Parenting News: More than one hour of TV a day may lead to violence, Science study suggests

A Japanese version of this release is available by clicking here.

Watching more than one hour of television per day may make adolescents more prone to violence in adulthood, according to new research. The study, appearing in the journal Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is believed to be the first to investigate the long-term effects of television viewing on aggressive behavior.

Jeffrey Johnson of Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute and his co-authors tracked more than 700 children from adolescence to adulthood. Adolescents who watched one hour or more of television per day were more likely in their late teens and early twenties to engage in aggressive acts against other people, researchers found. This was especially true for boys.

Young adults--especially women--who watched two or more hours of television per day were also more prone to violence.

Our findings suggest that, at least during early adolescence, responsible parents should avoid permitting their children watch more than one hour of television a day, Johnson said. Thats where the vast majority of the increase in risk occurs.

The link between watching television and behaving violently remained intact after the researchers had accounted for other factors that might be responsible for television viewing and violent behavior, such as childhood neglect, low family income, or a psychiatric disorder during adolescence.

The youths in the study and their mothers were interviewed four times over the course of 18 years and assigned to three categories: those who watched less than one hour of television per day, between one and three hours per day, and more than three hours per day.

Three to five violent acts occur in an average hour of prime-time television, and 20 to 25 violent acts occur in an average hou

Contact: Lisa Onaga
American Association for the Advancement of Science

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