A school-based program that discourages television and video-game use makes grade-school children less aggressive, a Stanford University study suggests.
The study, published in the January edition of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, involved two sets of third- and fourth-graders in San Jose, Calif., one of which served as the control group.
The children reported the amount of time they spent watching TV and videos, and playing video games. One group was challenged to abstain for 10 days, then to watch for no more than seven hours weekly.
At the outset, the students reported an average of 15-1/2 hours of TV viewing, five hours of videos, and three hours of video games each week. That fell by one-third at the end of the course.
Children were asked to rate their classmates' aggressiveness at the beginning of the study and at the end. Reports of aggression among the two groups were similar at the outset, but by the end, there were 25 percent fewer such reports at the school that had participated in the program.
While the study looked at only two schools, its results are in line with other research which suggests that overexposure to even nonviolent media can cause kids to be more aggressive, the authors say.