Can TV improve behavior in children?
More often than not, when a study is released about children and television consumption, the results are overwhelmingly negative. Yet a new report published in Pediatrics takes a different spin, recommending that instead of trying to reduce the number of hours a child spends in front of a TV, parents should attempt to make sure that the programs being watched promote positive behavior.
Even at an early age, children mimic behavior that they see on television. The study found that preschool children would exhibit both aggressive and pro-social behaviors that they saw on television shows. Focusing on 820 families with children between three and five years old, the research found that children exposed to fewer violent shows scored higher on social and behavioral evaluations. “Dora the Explorer” and “Sesame Street” were cited as programs that promote a positive message and teaches life lessons.
This is not to suggest that it’s a good idea for children to be watching hours upon hours of television per day—other studies have found that can lead to declines in physical fitness–but rather that parents need to be more selective about what kind of shows their kids watch.