New research from the University of Glasgow seems to indicate that there is a positive correlation between the amount of television watched and social/behavioral problems, but playing video games could not be used to predict the same problems. This was not a small study either, using over 11,000 children monitored over the course of several years. The children came from several backgrounds, investigating differences between income, family, ethnicity, and gender, but the most important thing to note was this was an investigation into the different results caused by television and games. In fact, it was predicted that due to their interactive nature, games would be the one to cause problems, but this was not the case.
Truthfully, the difference was small, and the researchers themselves admit that their study isn’t the final word on the matter, but as someone who’s personally done some long term research, I have a small idea of the amount of work that goes into something like this. No research is perfect, especially when a study asks the mothers to report about their children, but with a sample size this large, the general idea is that the problem people, who we’d like to think are a severe minority of the population, will get lost in the data compared to accessing more “normal” individuals. The correlation between the childhood issues and watching TV is also small, less than a full percent, so it’s not something to worry about too much, but it is there. The researchers themselves feel that it isn’t so much how much time children are spending with the screens that may or may not account for most of the differences, but how the families use and monitor them. Any college students looking for a thesis topic might want to take that hint as their starting point.