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TV viewing decreases kids' family time

A study says that children who spend more time watching television spend less time interacting with their family.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2006 11:55 IST

A new study has found that children who spend more time watching television spend less time interacting with their family and playing creatively.

The study, by researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and Harvard Children's Hospital, was conducted on 2,900 children of 12 and lower over two 24-hour periods, one randomly chosen weekday and one weekend day.

The researchers compared television use with time spent on homework, reading, creative play (such as arts and crafts), active play (such as soccer) and interaction with parents and siblings.

They found that children who spent more time watching television, spent less time interacting with parents and siblings and playing creatively, though it did not interfere with reading or playing outdoors, as is commonly believed.

The researchers also found that older children who spent more time watching television spent less time on homework.

Dr. Elizabeth Vandewater, lead author and associate professor of human ecology at The University of Texas at Austin, said that parents should the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that children under the age of two should not watch television, and that children older than two should watch no more than two hours of television daily.

"Now we know that time spent watching television is negatively related to time spent with parents," she said.

The study also showed that while television time impinged on familial interactions for all age groups, it was strongest in older children between the ages of 9 to 12, because they spent less time with their parents overall.

First Published: Feb 09, 2006 11:55 IST