Study shows PC and TV Time Affects Teen Relationships

For us parents, determining how long should we allow our kids to watch TV or how long should we allow our kids to use computers for gaming, social networking or even for school works is a challenge. We normally want to control it for one reason – it may affect their studies.

So does it affect only their studies? How about their relationship?

A newly published University of Otago study found that young people who watched more TV and stay longer with their computers tended to have poorer relationships with both their friends and parents. The findings, published in the March issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, come out of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study and the Youth Lifestyle Study.

The objective of the study is to examine associations between screen time (television, video or DVD, gaming, and computer use) and attachment to parents and peers in 2 cohorts of adolescents 16 years apart – one in 1987-1988 (the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study [DMHDS] cohort) and the other in 2004 (the Youth Lifestyle Study [YLS] cohort).

The result is more time spent television viewing and less time spent reading and doing homework were associated with low attachment to parents for both cohorts. Among the YLS cohort, more time spent playing on a computer was also associated with low attachment to parents. Among the DMHDS cohort, more time spent television viewing was associated with low attachment to peers.

But in a separate study of adults conducted by Pew Research Center (PRC), the result is different. The study reveal that Web use did not cause social isolation. It claims that Web users are 45 percent more likely to visit a cafe, 52 percent more likely to visit a library, 34 percent more likely to visit a fast-food restaurant, 69 percent more likely to visit other restaurants, and 42 percent more likely to visit a public park.

So which study are we going to believe? Which study are we going to rely? I guess as parents, it will depend entirely on us. Observing the behavior of our kids, monitoring their school grades and social life will greatly determine if Study 1 or Study 2 will be more applicable to our kid.

My personal opinion about this is I will tend to side with the result of PRC primarily because of my own kid’s behavior. They are equipped with their own netbooks and mobile phones and yet they love to go out – to shop, to go to church, swim, watch movies and a lot more. My only problem is if I can keep up with them – all these requires money, something I don’t have too much of.

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