Allowing children to spend hours each day watching TV or playing computer games does not make them badly behaved, according to a new study.
Instead, said the authors of a report that studied 11,000 children aged 4-11, bad behavior is more likely caused by bad parenting.
The Medical Research Council findings contradicted advice issued by American health professionals that says children should be limited to two hours of watching non-violent TV programs per day – or behavioral problems could result.
The MRC study said that while long hours of watching TV could lead to very limited behavior issues in children at age seven, the effect was minimal.
Children who spent hours playing computer games showed no increase in behavioral issues at all.
Dr. Alison Parkes, of the MRC said: "Our work suggests that limiting the amount of time children spend in front of the TV is, in itself, unlikely to improve psychosocial adjustment."
She added that intervention to improve family dynamics – such as improving parenting skills – would have a more marked effect on children’s behavior.