New study finds that what kids watch on TV could affect behavior

(WXYZ) - It's not just the amount of screen time that should concern parents. Content counts, too. A new study finds what kids watch on television can have a positive effect on their behavior.

Dr. Emma Raizman did not take part in the study, but is a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic.

"Violence on TV is much different than the violence we were watching when we were younger, so there is a lot more of it. And the problem is the kids imitate what's on TV. So, not only are they imitating it after watching it a great deal it becomes their reality, so all of a sudden their world is a world is much more violent," said Dr. Raizman.

Researchers at the Seattle Children's Research Institute studied the effect of screen time and programming on nearly 600 families.

They found kids in the 3-5 age range, who were encouraged to view less violent TV shows and watch with mom and dad, ended up spending less time on violent programming up to a year later.

They were also significantly less aggressive, exhibited more prosocial behavior, and watched more educational programming.

"So, it's really important for parents to watch tv with their kids and to control what they are actually seeing, so that they get a better sense of what the world is and to watch less tv because that is going to increase their social interactions," said Dr. Raizman.

Researchers say implementing and upholding some of these changes at home could benefit a child's behavior.

Dr. Raizman says parents play a big role in all of this- even if they can't be in the room.

"Really we not only want to make changes in the amount their watching, but what they're watching. So, there are parental controls, things like v-chips, different devices that will just watch children's TV, you can have a child-friendly DVR," said Dr. Raizman.

Complete findings for this study are in the journal "Pediatrics."

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