TV, Computers Linked to Weak Relationships

Children's Health, Marriage and Family Health, Mental Health, Parenting
Children in recent New Zealand studies who spent a lot of time watching television and using computer games had less attachment to family and peers. The more time teens spend watching television and using computers, the less likely they are to develop close relationships with parents and peers, a study of two New Zealand teen cohorts separated by 16 years found. According to this report from MedPage Today, for every hour adolescents spent watching television, there was a 13% increased risk of low attachment to parents (risk ratio 1.13, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.26; P<0.05) and a 24% increase in the risk of having low attachment to peers (RR 1.24, 95% CI 1.08 to 1.40; P<0.05). The report is one of the cohorts published online in the Archives of Pediatrics…
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Don’t Count on DVDs to Improve Your Child’s Vocabulary

Children's Health, Mental Health, Parenting
A new study shows that children who watched language-building DVDs over a six-week period did NOT have better linguistic skills than those who didn't watch. Furthermore, the younger a child was the first time he or she viewed such language-aquisition DVDs, the lower his or her language scores. Finally, infants don't learn a great deal from language-acquisition DVDs, and may in fact be hindered from learning vocabulary, researchers have found. According to a report from MedPage Today, tots who watched such DVDs over a six-week period didn't have better language knowledge scores than youngsters who didn't watch, and those who first tuned in at a younger age had lower language scores, according to Rebekah A. Richert, PhD, of the University of California Riverside, and colleagues. They reported their findings online in Archives…
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New analysis reasserts video games’ link to violence

Children's Health, Mental Health, Parenting
An article in USA Today discusses a new review of 130 studies which "strongly suggests" playing violent video games increases aggressive thoughts and behavior and decreases empathy. The results hold "regardless of research design, gender, age or culture," says lead researcher Craig Anderson, who directs the Center for the Study of Violence at Iowa State University in Ames. His team did a statistical analysis of studies on more than 130,000 gamers from elementary school age to college in the USA, Europe, and Japan. It is published today in Psychological Bulletin, a journal of the American Psychological Association. But Christopher Ferguson, an associate professor at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, says in a critique accompanying the study that the effects found "are generally very low." He adds that the analysis…
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TV Viewing Linked To Increased Heart Risk Factors In Young Adults

Heart Health
TV watching in early adulthood is linked to increase in risk factors for heart disease, researchers have just announced. They studied more than 5,600 men and women who were asked about their viewing habits at age 23 and then again at age 44. Their findings were that that people who watched more television were more likely to have metabolic problems such as higher blood pressure and a higher body mass index, as well as more inflammation in their systems. The study was presented at the Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism & Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention joint conference in San Francisco. If these findings find their way into the peer-reviewed medical literature, they will be another wake up call on the dangers of a sedentary life.
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