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Excessive computer use linked to illicit behavior in children, say researchers

Saturday, April 30, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: computers, children, health news


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(NaturalNews) Parents that allow their children to spend lots of time on the computer and in front of the television may be inadvertently contributing to an epidemic rise in "multiple-risk behaviors" (MRBs) among adolescents, suggests a new study published in the Journal of Preventative Medicine. High computer use, say researchers, can lead to a 50 percent increased risk of developing MRBs like drug use, drunkenness, and unprotected sex.

When children are exposed to violence, wild partying, and other negative things through video games, television shows, and various internet content, they tend to adopt those behaviors themselves. Rather than develop life habits through natural exposure to family and friends, media-addicted youth instead mimic what they see and hear in the digital world, which more often than not is an exhibition of bad behavior.

"This research is based on social cognitive theory, which suggests that seeing people engaged in a behavior is a way of learning that behavior," said Valerie Carson, lead author of the study and doctoral candidate at Queen's University School of Kinesiology and Health Studies. "Since adolescents are exposed to considerable screen time -- over 4.5 hours on average each day -- they're constantly seeing images of behaviors they can then potentially adopt."

Obviously not rocket science, the study itself may seem like it has merely unearthed the basic consequences of children observing bad behavior. However, it also brings to light some even more important concepts involving human development, and the role digital media plays in crafting a child's personality and behaviors. This is why it is vitally important for parents to not only set a positive example for their children, but also to love them by instilling in them desirable behaviors, rather than the behaviors they will otherwise learn from television and much of the internet.

Sources for this story include:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-...

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