Children and adolescents who watch a lot of television are more likely to become involved in antisocial and criminal behaviour as adults, a University of Otago study indicates.
One of the study co-authors, Associate Prof Bob Hancox, said the research showed the issue of excessive television watching needed to be ”taken seriously”.
Researchers found the risk of a criminal conviction by early adulthood increased by about 30% with every hour children spent watching TV on an average week night.
And watching more television in childhood was associated, later, with aggressive personality traits and an increased tendency to experience negative emotions.
There was also an increased risk of developing an antisocial personality disorder; a psychiatric disorder characterised by persistent patterns of aggressive and antisocial behaviour, the study found.
Prof Hancox said the study ”provides further evidence that excessive TV watching can lead to poor behaviour”.