Magazine article Work & Family Life

Media Overload 'Unhealthy' for Children

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Media Overload 'Unhealthy' for Children

Article excerpt

Here's some research-based support for parents who want to limit the amount of time their kids are spending on the many forms of media available to them now.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the nonprofit advocacy group Common Sense Media reviewed 173 studies on the effects of media consumption on children, and a new report on their findings shows a strong correlation between greater exposure and adverse health outcomes.

"Couch potato does, unfortunately, sum it up pretty well," says Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, chair of bioethics at the NIH Clinical Center and one of five reviewers of the study. Here are some of the specific findings:

MORE TIME SPENT WITH TV, movies, video games, magazines, music and the Internet was linked to increases in childhood obesity, tobacco use and sexual behavior. The studies also showed strong correlations with drug and alcohol use and low academic achievement.

EVIDENCE OF A RELATIONSHIP between media exposure and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder was also found.

VERY FEW OF THE STUDIES have shown positive associations between media consumption and children's health.

Of the 1800 media-related studies conducted since 1980, only 173 met the criteria for this research, which suggests the need for more research in this area. …

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