Prolonged Media Consumption might Hurt Children’s Health

SAN FRANCISCO, CA. (ConCienciaNews) ­ 80 percent of a 30-year old research related to mass media and children’s health concluded that a prolonged exposure to media might have a negative impact in children and teenagers, according to a report elaborated by Common Sense Media, Yale University, the National Institutes of Health and California Pacific Medical Center.

“Results show that there’s a clear and strong relation between media exposure and children’s health in the long run,” said Ezekiel J. Emanuel, doctor with the NIH and leader of the study.

“This study provides conclusions that could be the starting point for future research that must explore both the effects of traditional media as well as digital media such as videogames, Internet and cell phones ­which are becoming more popular everyday among children and teenagers,” Ezekiel said.

The analysis included a total of 173 studies related to media exposure and seven different health factors such as tobacco consumption, sexual behavior, obesity, attention deficit, academic performance, and alcohol and drug use.

The research, first of its kind, found that the most significant relation was in between mass media exposure and obesity. From the 73 studies that focused in this particular connection, 86 revealed a strong relationship between prolonged media usage and the appearance of obesity problems.

“Media is more present in the lives of children and teenagers everyday,” said James P. Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, non-profit organization that seeks to educate families about responsible use of mass media.

Maria Alvarez, Hispanic spokesperson of the organization, added that “this study offers conclusions that should be taken into consideration by the parents. It’s not good to leave children in front of any media screen for hours. There’s got to be a balance and more supervision.”

Alvarez also highlighted the importance of creating awareness among the Hispanic community. At home, parents should start by imposing limits about the amount of time their children spend watching TV or playing videogames, and also by taking informed decisions regarding how much media children should consume based on their age.

“This research is the first review in detail about the multiple forms in which media can affect both physical and mental children’s health,” concluded Emanuel.

For more advice and general information about safe media consumption, visit www.commonsensemedia.org