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Violent TV can make children aggressive, anti-social - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Violent TV can make children aggressive, anti-social

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SALISBURY MILLS, N.Y. -

Television is a regular part of life at the Walsh house. With six kids, Kerre and John say it's one way to keep them entertained.

"We have TVs in... basically every room and in the cars," Kerre said.

But two new studies in the journal Pediatrics say that TV could affect a child's behavior. New Zealand researchers looked at about 1,000 children and found the more TV children watch, the more antisocial and aggressive they can become.

"It also means really more depression, more anxiety, more keeping to one's self," said Dr. Suzanne Kaseta of Washingtonville Pediatrics.

Pediatricians are concerned not just about how much time children spend in front of the TV, but also what programs they are watching.

In the second study, U.S. researchers found preschool aged children can imitate what they see on TV.

"A lot of children's programming-- even though it is children's programming-- still shows a lot of violence," Kaseta said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests children older than 2 should watch less than two hours of TV a day, and that kids younger than 2 shouldn't watch any TV at all.

The Walshes have rules so the children know what they shouldn't be watching.

"They all shout at the same time, we're not allowed to watch that," John said.

They also limit TV time during the week and make sure they spend most of their time outside staying active.

In addition to anti-social behavior, researchers found that excess television viewing in children increased the risk of criminal conviction later in life.

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