Friday, November 27, 2009


BOYS who watch seemingly harmless cartoons or contact sports on TV between the ages of two and five are more likely to be aggressive and disobedient later, a study published recently showed.

“We found the more violent TV children see as preschoolers, the more likely they are to have anti-social behaviors – acting aggressively, disobeying, getting into trouble – at school age,” said Dimitri Christakis, a lead author of the study, published in the scientific journal, Pediatrics.

“Cartoons are the main culprit,” he said.

“Most parents consider cartoons not threatening to their children because, after all, they’re not real and they’re just funny. But the truth is that preschool children don’t distinguish between fantasy and reality the way older children and adults do. To them it’s all very real.

“Precisely because cartoon violence is intended to be funny and depicts violence without real consequence – even if people get blown up, they’re black for a second and then return to normal – it conveys the wrong messages about the effects of violence in the real world,” Christakis said.

“It’s not just about watching TV, it’s about what children watch.”

“The take-home message to parents is that they have to be very mindful of what their children watch, and if they’re careful about it, there’s no harm in selective TV viewing.

“If they’re not, there really are risks in terms of children’s behavior,” Christakis said.