Kids get more sleep, do better in school, behave better and see other health benefits when parents limit content and the amount of time their children spend on the computer or in front of the TV, say researchers.
Douglas Gentile, lead author and an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State, said that when parents are involved it has a powerful protective effect across a wide range of different areas that they probably never would have expected to see, asserted that however, parents aren't likely to notice that putting limits on the children's media is having these effects seven months later.
The study found there is a ripple effect associated with the benefits of limiting both screen time and media content. However, limited screen time also indirectly affects body mass index. The study found that children got more sleep if parents limited screen time, which also resulted in lower risk of obesity. Parents limiting exposure to violent media resulted in increased prosocial behavior and lowered aggressive behavior seven months later.
Researchers analyzed the media habits of more than 1,300 school children who were recruited to participate in an obesity prevention program. Students and parents were surveyed about everything from screen time limits, to violent media exposure, to bedtimes and behavior. Teachers reported grades and commented on student behavior and school nurses measured each student's height and weight.
The new study has been published in journal JAMA Pediatrics.