It's been debated for ages: Does violent TV lead to violent behavior? That's still an open question, but a new study suggests that watching positive programming can improve kids' behavior.
The research looked at 565 Seattle parents of 3-to-5-year-old kids, who were told to fill out diaries about their children's TV-viewing behaviors over the course of a year. Half the parents were coached for six months leading up to the study on getting their kids to watch more "positive" programming — say, Sesame Street or Dora the Explorer instead of Power Rangers. The other half were coached on getting their kids to eat healthier.
The results were relatively weak. After six months, both groups of kids showed behavior improvement, with the TV-viewing sample slightly above the healthy eating sample. After a year, there was no meaningful difference between the two. Low-income boys had the most short-term benefit, researchers said. Overall, though, the benefits faded over time.