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Infant Television Time Not Linked to Cognition at Age 3

Separate study finds that restrictive video game labels are more attractive to children

TUESDAY, Mar. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Television viewing during infancy does not influence cognition in children at age 3, and restrictive labels only increase the attractiveness of video games to children, according to two studies published in the March issue of Pediatrics.

Marie Evans Schmidt, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues surveyed mothers of 872 children at 6 months, 1 year and 2 years, and determined that their children watched a mean of 1.2 hours of television daily. Although an initial analysis showed this television viewing during infancy was associated with lower language and visual motor skills at age 3, the association disappeared after adjusting for multiple factors, including maternal age, income and education.

Marije Nije Bijvank, of the VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and colleagues evaluated how 310 Dutch children (aged 7 to 17 years, 50.6 percent male) rated fictitious video game descriptions and labels. The investigators found children of all ages more likely wanted to play games with restrictive age labels. Further, the children preferred games with violence content labels over non-violent games; this effect was particularly strong in boys, they note.

"Pediatricians should be aware of this forbidden-fruit effect, because video games with objectionable content can have harmful effects on children and adolescents," Nije Bijvank and colleagues conclude.

Abstract - Evans Schmidt
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Abstract - Nije Bijvank
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