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Television and Video Games Linked to Attention Problems

Link appears to exist in middle childhood and late adolescence, early adulthood

TUESDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- Television and video game exposure both appear to be associated with increased attention problems in middle childhood, as well as in late adolescence and early adulthood, according to a study published online July 5 in Pediatrics.

During a 13-month period, Edward L. Swing, of Iowa State University in Ames, and colleagues evaluated 1,323 middle childhood participants using parent- and child-reported television and video game exposure along with teacher-reported attention problems. In addition, another cohort of 210 late adolescent and early adult participants gave self-reports of television and video game exposure and attention problems.

The researchers found that television and video game exposure was linked to greater attention problems. When they statistically controlled for earlier attention problems and gender, the association remained significant. The researchers found similar associations with attention problems for both media types (television and video games) and in both middle childhood and late adolescence/early adulthood.

"These studies demonstrate that the risk could be reduced if parents followed the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics to limit children's exposure to television and video games to no more than two hours per day. Furthermore, there are theoretical reasons to believe that slower paced educational, nonviolent content is less likely to cause attention problems, but more studies on this issue are especially needed," the authors conclude.

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