With gimmicks like "reality TV" and catchy slogans such as "Must See
TV," it's no wonder kids spend more time in front of the tube than in
school.* Yet, numerous studies have shown that excessive television
watching in childhood can lead to attention and behavioral problems
later on. And now, viewers can add sleep difficulties to that growing
lineup of television-viewing troubles.
Researchers studied a sample of 750 mothers and their children at
different stages of development - early and middle adolescence, and
early adulthood - to assess the television and sleeping habits of the
children during these times.
Adolescents who watched three or more
hours of television a day were at increased risk for developing
sleeping difficulties as young adults; the risk was significantly lower
in those whose viewing habits decreased to one hour a day or less.
So parents, take heed: Turn off the "idiot box," and encourage your
kids to engage in other activities, such as reading or playing
outdoors. Better yet, why not set the example? Get off the couch, join
your kids in a fun activity, and enjoy the reality of family, rather
than reality TV.
For more on pediatric health, visit
Johnson JG, Cohen P, Kasen S, et al. Association between television
viewing and sleep problems during adolescence and early adulthood. Arch
Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158:562-568.
*Sege and Dietz, 1994. www.limitv.org/stats.htm.