Television viewing and its impact on childhood behaviors

Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2011 Apr;13(2):122-8. doi: 10.1007/s11920-011-0175-5.


Despite the emergence of new media technologies, television remains the most widely used screen media format. Unfortunately, concerns have arisen about its effects on the health and well-being of children and adolescents. This article reviews television usage trends and television's impact on sleep, attention, and interpersonal relationships. American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations on television use are also discussed. Many studies on television viewing have cross-sectional designs, and longitudinal research is limited. However, research to date suggests that excessive television viewing is associated with negative effects on sleep, attention, and interpersonal relationships. As use of different media formats escalates, research across multiple specialties (including child psychiatry) will need to incorporate evaluation of media use into its assessments. More research and education are needed on the appropriate use of media in youth. Information on the health effects of television may also increase awareness of potential issues with less well-studied media formats.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Attention
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Depression
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Sleep
  • Television*