New study says too much computer or TV screen time can psychologically harm children


by Jan Minagawa


Posted on October 11, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 11 at 3:21 PM

It's been relatively well established that too much "screen time" spent in front of the TV or computer is not a good thing for kids, but now there's a twist that may get parents scrambling to change their kids' playtime habits.

A new study by the,  shows kids who spend more than two hours a day playing on the computer or watching TV tend to have more psychological problems, regardless of how physically active they are otherwise.

So even if they were doing more sedentary activities, like reading or homework, they scored better on mental health tests.

Child psychologists suggest aggressive content on the internet may be part of the problem.

The study does not prove increased screen time leads to psychological problems in kids.

In fact, it may be the other way around.

"We don't know if watching the computer or watching TV is causing kids to have these problems or if kids who have problems are drawn to hanging out and watching tv and being on the computer," explains Dr. Carolyn Landis.

Whether screen time is replaced by play time, story time, or even bed time, experts recommend making sure kids' brains are otherwise engaged.

This study included more than 1,000 10- and 11-year-old children.