A new study has revealed that pre-schoolers who watch non-violent videos throughout the day tend to sleep better at night. In fact, children who watch non-violent videos are 20 percent less likely to suffer from sleep disturbances at night compared to those who continue watching violent videos.
The research, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, involved 565 children and their families participating in the study. The participants were divided into two groups randomly. One group was required to allow the children to change their viewing habits wherein only non-violent videos such as Sesame Stress, Dora the Explorer and Curious George were allowed. On the other hand, the other group continued their usual viewing habits, but were sent healthy diet information.
The families were also asked to document in a diary the sleeping habits of their children as well their viewing habits. The data was collected before the start of the interventions and again after 6, 12 and 18 months.
The results of the study indicated that at the start of the research, 49% of children in the intervention group (those who watched non-violent videos) had some sort of sleep problems. The sleep problems included difficulty in falling asleep.
After six months of intervention, the results showed that there was a decrease in the sleep problems from 49% to 30% among children who were asked by their parents to watch non-violent videos. Children who were given information on healthy dieting also had reduced sleep problems; however, only a reduction from 39% to 36%.
The results clearly show how good TV program choices may significantly affect the quality of sleep in children.
The Impact of Media on Sleep
The quality of programs watched by children may significantly have an impact on their daily activities. For instance, children who watch horror movies tend to have sleep problems because of their vivid imaginations. Particularly in preschool children who have active imaginations, sleep disturbance is at its highest.
Children don’t stop thinking about violent videos such as horror movies or crime scenes. Children usually think over the scenes even days after they have watched them contributing to problems with their sleep.
Children who watch non-violent videos tend to sleep better because they generally have more peace of mind and there are no peculiar or frightening things that come into their imaginations as they try to sleep.
What Can Parents Do?
Parents should strictly employ advocacy with regard to their children watching both television and movies. Parents should strictly adhere to the ratings of the TV programs in such a way that children may only watch programs or movies that are appropriate for their age and developmental level.
In addition, parents can also help promote healthy sleep by ending TV viewing time two hours prior to their children’s bed time and establishing consistent sleeping and waking times.
Good sleep is essential for pre-schoolers because it is when they have good sleeping habits that they grow and develop better. Ensuring that children sleep well is the best way to promote their overall good health as well as their mental and physical development.
Posted by Pitt Goumas