Research from Thinkbox has found that the majority of people still watch programmes on their television sets

Debate: Is it irresponsible for parents to let children watch all the TV they like?

Share

 

What's going on?

A new study encourages parents to monitor and restrict the television viewing and videogame-playing time of their children, as watching less TV was shown to improve behaviour, school performance, and the amount children sleep.

The data was collected in a survey of 1,300 children.

The lead author, Dr Douglas Gentile, of Iowa State University, said: "Paediatricians, family practitioners, nurses and other health care professionals who encourage parents to be more involved in their children's media may be much more effective at improving a wide range of healthy behaviours than they realise."

So, is this a spur to wrestle away control of the TV remote?

Case for

Forget about studies for a moment and use your common sense. What good does it do a child to sit in front of a screen and gawp for hours on end? Videogames aren't any better; they suck the young into a feedback-loop which gives the illusion of progress ('congratulations, you levelled up!') while in fact keeping developing brains stuck on a plateau. It may be unfashionable, or even seen as cruel, but parents should crack the whip: get those sprogs outside or, failing that, minimise the time they spend on 'media devices' and maximise the time in front of something useful. A book, perhaps.

Case against

Again, the Hair Shirt School of Parenting speaks. When will they learn? There's no need to worry about kids using screens: the entire world runs on them. You cannot stop a new generation growing up as 'digital natives', nor should you try. Kids learn and relax using media devices. They can use what shows they watch and games they play to form lasting friendships. Of course, if we wanted to get technical, research shows that kids who watch three hours or more of TV a day are at no greater risk of emotional problems than other children. Face it: times have changed... and not everyone can afford a nanny.

Have your say in the comments

 

Stop children watching TV

Read Next
 

Think I'm living the high life on benefits? Here's what being disabled costs me every day

Hannah Buchanan
 

Like many other black men, I grew up with only women around. Now I'm worried the experience has ‘feminised’ me

Tyrell Williams
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones