*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on StudyFinds.
Young children, specifically around the ages of four or five, can be a handful to say the least. Preschool aged children are full of energy and curiosity, which often leads to bewildered parents placing their kids in front of the TV so they can take a much needed break. It may be tempting for parents to install a TV in their children’s bedrooms as well, but a new study finds that too much time in front of a bedroom TV can lead to a multitude of problems later on in a child’s life.
According to researchers from the University of Montreal, a TV in the bedroom of a preschool aged child can discourage other, more productive developmental activities. Children at this age should be making important physical and social explorations and developments, but if they are cooped up in their bedroom all day and night watching TV, it can seriously hamper their mental and physical growth. This can consequently lead to poor diet, weight problems, and social issues later on in adolescence.
“Intuitively, parents know that how their children spend their leisure time will impact their well-being over the long term,” explains study author Linda Pagani in a release. “And with TV being their most common pastime, it’s clear that the many hours they spend in front of the screen is having an effect on their growth and development, especially if the TV is in a private place like the bedroom.”
Pagani and her team analyzed data on 1,859 Quebec-area children born between 1997-1998. Children who had a TV in their bedroom at the age of four were focused on, in order to determine if they dealt with mental, physical, or social problems later on in life.
According to the researchers findings, having a TV in the bedroom at the age of four makes children much more likely to deal with unhealthy eating habits, a high BMI, social problems with peers, higher than average levels of emotional distress, depression, victimization tendencies, and physical aggression later on in adolescence. The study’s authors say they accounted for and eliminated any individual or family factors that may have skewed their results.
The study was published in the scientific journal Pediatric Research.