Study: Better TV might improve kids' behaviour

AP, Monday 18 Feb 2013

A new research study proves children who watch less violent shows and more educational programmes, without spending less time watching TV, can improve their behaviour

Teaching parents to switch channels from violent shows to educational television programmes can improve preschoolers' behaviour, even without getting them to watch less, showed a study by the Seattle Children's Research Institute.

The results were modest and faded over time, but may hold promise to finding new ways to help young children avoid aggressive, violent behaviour, suggested the study and other doctors.

"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," said lead author Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a paediatrician and researcher at Seattle Children's Research Institute.

The research was to be published online on Monday by the Journal of Pediatrics.

The study involved 565 Seattle parents, who periodically filled out TV-watching diaries and questionnaires measuring their child's behaviour.

Half were coached for six months on getting their 3-to-5-year-old kids to watch shows like "Sesame Street" and "Dora the Explorer" rather than more violent programmes like "Power Rangers." The results were compared with kids whose parents received advice on healthy eating instead.

At six months, children in both groups showed improved behaviour, but there was a slightly more improvement in the group that was coached on television watching.

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