Boys aged between two and five who viewed an hour of violence on screen a day increased their chances of being overly aggressive later in childhood, but the association was not seen in girls, researchers said on Monday. “This new study provides further evidence of how important and powerful television and media are as young children develop,” study author Dimitri Christakis of Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute said.
“Of 184 boys (in the study), 25 of them had serious problems with aggression and for each hour on average per day they had watched violent TV, they were three times more likely to be in that group” than those who did not watch violent programming, Dr Christakis said. Christakis and fellow researchers, writing in the journal ‘Pediatrics’, analyzed the television and video viewing habits of 330 children aged from two to five, then assessed their behaviour five years later.
“Cartoon violence teaches kids that violence is funny and without consequence. So when people in cartoons have their heads flattened and they pop right back out and kids laugh at it, they really are thinking there are no serious consequence to hitting someone in the head, which obviously isn’t true in the real world,” Dr Christakis said.