After spending day after day in front of the television, do you think your kids show indicators of depression? It may not be just your imagination. A recent study from the University of Pittsburgh followed over 4,000 adolescents for seven years. None were showing depressive tendencies at the beginning of the study. By the end, about 7% were reporting depressive symptoms.
Within that group of 7%, researchers discovered that every hour of daily television use led to "significantly greater odds of developing depression." In addition, kids who reported more total media exposure had "significantly greater odds of developing depression."
Interestingly, they didn't find a similar relationship with computer games (or listening to the radio), so don't throw away that game system... just keep the TV turned off while they use it!
The study's summary with a link to the full version (for a fee) can be found here: http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/66/2/181
Rod Gustafson has worked in various media industries since 1977. He founded Parent Previews in 1993, and today continues to write and broadcast the reviews in newspapers, on radio and (of course) on the Internet. He currently serves as the President of the Alberta Association for Media Awareness, a provincial non-profit society. He also authors a regular column for The Parent's Television Council in Los Angeles. He and his wife Donna have four children.