Study: high exposure to media harmful for kids

December 3, 2008

Lots of time spent in front of the TV, playing video games, and surfing the Web can increase a child's risk of health problems, according to recent study results.

Lots of time spent in front of the TV, playing video games, and surfing the Web can increase a child's risk of health problems, according to recent study results.

Investigators from the National Institutes of Health, Yale University, and the California Pacific Medical Center examined 173 studies conducted since 1980 that assessed the effects of use of various media, primarily television, but also including video games, film, music, and computers.

In 80% of the studies, greater media exposure was linked to negative health outcomes for children and adolescents. Eighty-six percent of 73 studies found a statistically significant relationship between increased exposure to media and obesity risk, while 88% of 24 studies found such a link with tobacco use. Increased media exposure was linked to drug use in 75% of eight studies, alcohol use in 80% of 10 studies, low academic achievement in 65% of 31 studies, sexual behavior in 93% of 14 studies, and ADHD in 69% of 13 studies.

The full study can be accessed on non-profit organization Common Sense Media's Web site.