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Television can influence children's behavior
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2013 07:27 AM

Television can influence children''s behavior Although watching television is a simple activity, it can have a wide range of effects on viewers, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine's National Institutes of Health. For children, television watching has been linked to problems paying attention and poor reading skills. Now, there is new evidence that reveals a connection between the types of programs kids watch and their behavior.

Based on research that appears in "Pediatrics," choosing which television programs preschoolers watch can help parents improve their children's behavior, USA Today reported. In a study that involved 565 families, researchers found that it was possible to decrease kids' aggression and increase the level of their helpfulness, empathy and other positive social behaviors.

According to the news source, children who watched fewer violent shows and more educational programming ended up showing improved behavior, as opposed to kids whose television diet did not change at all. What made this study unique is that researchers did not reduce the amount of time children spend in front of the television - only the types of shows they watch. However, there are those who believe parents need to go beyond choosing the programs their children watch.

"Although this innovative study shows changing content without changing viewing time helps lower aggression, other health issues may need to be approached in different ways," Jennifer Manganello, an associate professor at the University of Albany School of Public Health who was not involved with the research, told the news source. "For instance, studies have shown that reducing screen time can be helpful when trying to reduce the risk for obesity."

With this knowledge, parents may want to have their children complete a personality test to see if they possess any traits that may be tied to the types of television programs they watch.

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