Study Says Violent Television is Bad for Young Children

Posted by Marianne Frederick

Halloween is almost upon us, and it’s no surprise that primetime television is becoming bloodier and gorier. Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services turned its attention to the problem that violent TV has a marked effect on kids in a less than healthy way, causing kids to have nightmares that keep them from sleeping soundly and getting the good rest they need. Without sound sleep, growing bodies cannot be and stay healthy.

A study performed by Children’s Hospital and University of Washington School of Public Health in Seattle, reviewed by Dr. Michelle Garrison, PhD, MPH, noted the behavior of 565 families, some of whom permitted their young children to watch only non-violent programs such as “Curious George” and “Sesame Street”. After a year, it was observed that children in the study who watched non-violent television shows slept better and with fewer night wakings and less sleep disturbed by nightmares than other children in the study. (The study was published in the journal Pediatrics and funded by the National Institutes of Health.)

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Beat, September 18, 2012, noted Dr. Garrison’s caution that violent cartoons which might be tolerated by older children caused children ages 3 to 5 significant problems sleeping. Dr. Garrison says, “Healthy sleep plays such a critical role in child and adolescent development. We know from previous research that sleep problems can lead to behavior problems, difficulties in school, obesity, and increased injuries.”

So, parents and caregivers, if you are fans of the scarier Halloween shows, it might be best to DVR the Dracula shows and play them for big kids and adults after young children are soundly and peacefully asleep!

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