Remember when you were a child and your parents kept telling you that too much TV was bad for you? Times have changed quite a bit since then and today’s children are being told the same thing about spending too much time in front of a computer monitor. While both activities can have adverse health effects an interesting new study suggests that watching TV can be more harmful than the computer. In fact, some of the results are startling.
The study was conducted by Queen's University in Ontario, Canada. The subjects were comprised of 2,500 children between the ages of 6 – 19 years old. Accelerometers (a device used to measure the slightest movement) were used to measure activity in the children and vital signs were closely monitored during the study. The test subjects were also asked about the amount of time they usually spent in front of TV’s VS using a computer.
According to researchers, children who spend 4+ hours a day parked in front of the TV set are 2 ½ times more likely to suffer from heart disease and diabetes, an obvious result of a larger waistline due to too much inactivity. The same would be true of a child that spent the same amount of time on a computer, right? Wrong! Amazingly, extended use of the computer is proving to have no ill effects on the future health of children, the opposite of watching TV. How can this possibly be?
Some theories suggest that because of the interactive nature of the computer that users are simply burning more calories than staring at a TV set. It’s also possible that people tend to eat considerably more between meal snacks while TV viewing versus playing their favorite computer game or interacting on the social websites. Presumably, any type of activity is better than doing absolutely nothing, such as watching television and being completely dormant.
As amazing as these results seem to be, I can’t help but think that regular exercise, outdoor activity and interaction with other children is still a much better choice than playing the latest and greatest online game. It is encouraging as a parent, however, to know that today’s techno savvy world may be just a bit less harmful to children than the “TV Generations” of the past.