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Do Video Games and TV Affect Your Child’s Attention Span?

by Guest
Posted March 13 2012 04:31pm

Research published in the July 2010 edition of the journal Pediatrics finds a strong correlation between screen time and attention problems. The authors of the study found that the associations between screen time and attention problems were similar across age (middle childhood/adolescence/young adulthood) and across media types (video games/television).

Experimental Design

The study looked at video game and television habits as reported by the children and their parents, as well as reports from the children’s teachers regarding their performance in school, including any attention problems. More than 1300 kids in grades 3, 4, and 5 took part in the study. The study’s authors found that children who exceeded the recommended two hours of screen time per day were 1.5 times more likely to exhibit attention problems in school.

Correlation doesn't equal Causation

The first caveat to these findings is that correlational data only go so far. We know there is a relationship between attention and screen time, but teasing out the details of this relationship requires further research. Do video games cause attention problems or do kids with attention problems play more video games? Are there other factors at play, such as not getting enough exercise or regular sleep? Without a randomized controlled trial we cannot draw any causal conclusions about how video games affect children’s attention spans.


The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society both recommend limiting children’s screen time to no more than two hours per day. Between handheld video game devices, television, computers, console games, and movies this recommendation will be one that is increasingly difficult to implement.

What’s Your Strategy?

I recently heard about one parent’s unique approach to managing their child’s handheld gaming time; they give their child one battery charge per week, then it is up to the child to spend it wisely throughout the week. What’s your media management strategy? Post a comment below and share your tips for how to enjoy media wisely.


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Kidobi provides smart media solutions for parents with young children. Our unique technology adapts to the skill level of each child, creating tailor-made, ad-free playlists that are just right for them. Give your child media that matters! Visit www.kidobi.com today to make screen time count!



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