Children and adolescents glued to TV sets tend to exhibit anti-social and criminal behaviour as adults, according to a research from New Zealand.
The study by the University of Otago followed a group of around 1,000 children born in 1972-73. Every two years between the ages of five and 15, they were asked how much TV theywatched.
Those who watched more TV were more likely to have a criminal conviction and were also more likely to have anti-social personality traits in adulthood, the US journal Paediatrics reports.
Study co-author Bob Hancox, associate professor of preventive and social medicine at Otago, says he and colleagues found that the risk of having a criminal conviction by early adulthood increased by about 30 percent with every hour that children spent watching TV on an average weeknight, according to an Otago statement.
The study also found that watching more TV in childhood was associated, in adulthood, with aggressive personality traits, an increased tendency to experience negative emotions, and an increased risk of anti-social personality disorder; a psychiatric disorder characterised by persistent patterns of aggressive and antisocial behaviour.
Study co-author Lindsay Robertson, says it is not that children who were already anti-social watched more TV. “Rather, children who watched a lot of television were likely to go on to manifest anti-social behaviour and personality traits.”
“While we’re not saying that television causes all anti-social behaviour, our findings do suggest that reducing TV viewing could go some way towards reducing rates of anti-social behaviour in society,” concludes Hancox.