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Children and Media

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Children watching television, tv

Center researchers are studying how media use can affect a child's behavior, cognitive and language development, emotional well-being, eating habits, physical activity and sleep patterns.

We are technologizing childhood in a way that is unprecedented — today's children spend more time engaged in media activities than they spend in any other single activity except sleep. Most parents are concerned about the effects of media on their children, and researchers at the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development are trying to help. Our current research is examining several domains of children's media use: TV and videos, computers and video games.

We are working to provide families with answers to these kinds of questions:

  • "What kinds of shows are OK for my children?"
  • "How much time should my kids spend playing video games each day?"
  • "Is eating in front of the television OK at my house?"
  • "How can we keep TV and media use from interfering with bedtime?"
  • "Does it make a difference if I watch TV with my child?"
  • "Are these videos really educational for my baby?"
 
Child watching television, tv, toddler

Today's children spend more time engaged in media activities than they spend in any other activity except sleep.

We are investigating the impact media choices have on children's aggressive and prosocial behaviors, cognitive and language development, emotional well-being, eating habits, physical activity and sleep patterns. Our research is exploring these links and using that information to develop new resources and tools that we hope will make it easier for families to make healthier media choices.

We are conducting a community-based experiment that helps parents improve the media diet of preschoolers by choosing shows that promote prosocial development and avoiding those that promote aggression. This four-year research project is funded by the National Institutes of Health and began in fall 2008.

 

Considerable research has established that exposure to screen violence in early childhood increases real-world aggression for children of all ages, and that early aggression tracks into later childhood and adulthood.  

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