Effects of television viewing on preschoolers-a cross sectional Indian population-based study
Keywords:Behavior, Habits, Preschool age children, Excessive television viewing
Background: Television (TV) viewing creates tremendous influence on daily life; hence concerns have been raised on viewers, especially in preschool age group children. An existing literature has documented significant correlation between TV viewing and various behavior related problems among the other age groups. This study attempted to assess TV viewing habits in preschool children.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out over a period of 2 years at the tertiary health care center and a total of 500 children between 2 to 5 years of age, visiting the center, were included. Pre-validated 32 item questionnaire was used to collect data regarding television viewing habits from parents/guardians. TV viewing >2 hours was considered as excessive as per American academy of pediatrics (AAP) recommendation. Data analysis was done in SPSS version 20 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) and statistical differences were computed by ‘chi-square test’ and ‘paired t test’.
Results: There was statistically significant association between TV viewing and subject’s behavior. ‘Becoming angry on switching off TV’ was the most protuberant behaviour; followed by ‘imitating TV characters’ among the subjects. In addition to these effects on food habits, sleep pattern and play activity were also noted with excessive TV viewing group.
Conclusions: The current study reported a negative influence of TV viewing on behavior, sleep patterns, food habits and play activities of preschool age children. Parents should implement multipronged strategy like scheduling TV watching duration, limiting child’s total screen time, supervising and guiding child’s TV viewing activities to make better use of television for their children.
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