TV before bed a bad idea for kids

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Letting young kids watch television before bed interferes with their sleep, according to a study published June 27.

Researchers surveyed the parents of about 600 preschool-age children, from 3 to 5 years old. Children who were allowed to watch violent television during the day (meaning children's programming that contained violent scenes) increased sleep problems, and watching TV after 7 pm was linked to sleep problems, regardless of whether or not the programs contained violent.

The researchers advise that doctors ask parents to limit late-night television and media, and violent programs in general, for young kids. Be mindful of childrens' programming -- some shows are more suitable for seven- or eight-year-olds, not preschool children, the researchers said.

Kids with TVs in their rooms watched more TV and were more likely to have sleep problems; also, the more television children watched, and the more violence they were exposed to on television, the more problems they had sleeping.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, adds to the growing body of research that finds children who watch violent TV, or even too much TV during the day, may struggle with bedtime and naptime schedules, including one from 2008 from the University of Washington that yielded similar findings.

Access the study here: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/06/23/peds.2010-3304.abstrac

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