Monday, June 27th, 2011
In a not-so-surprising new study published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, research reveals that watching too much television (especially shows with violent images) has negative affects on the sleep patterns of preschoolers.
Reported by CNN.com, the study focused on 600 preschoolers in Seattle, Washington and kept track of when they watched television to determine sleep disturbances. Preschoolers who watched age-appropriate TV shows during the day slept well while those who watched the same type of shows at night, before bedtime, were more susceptible to nightmares, frequent wakings, and fatigue. In particular, preschoolers who watched shows with violence (shows meant for adults or the daily news reports) before bedtime were also more likely to experience nightmares.
Michelle Garrison, Ph.D., who conducted the study, points out young kids still can’t separate reality from fantasy, which is why they’re more frightened by what’s shown on TV. In addition, letting kids fall asleep with the TV still on is a no-no, since it keeps the child stimulated, not relaxed. Instead, parents should turn off the TV at least an hour before kids go to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that televisions be kept in a common room (not in a child’s bedroom), and young children should watch only 1-2 hours of TV per day.
What kind of TV shows do you let your kids watch? What are the ways you limit your child’s TV consumption?