Children who watch TV for more than three hours a day are at a higher risk of developing antisocial behaviour such as fighting and stealing, a new UK study has warned.
According to the Glasgow University researchers, as many as 15 per cent of five-year-olds who spend at least three hours in front of the television each day are at a slightly higher risk of anti-social behaviour by the age of seven.
However, there was no noticeable impact of computer or other video games on behaviour, 'The Telegraph' reported.
Researchers said the link between TV viewing and behavioural problems could be because of sleeping problems or a lack of physical activity, while some children's temperament could affect their screen-watching habits.
There is also a possibility that it is what kids watch on TV, and not how long they spend watching it, that influences their behaviour, they said.
"Our work suggests that limiting the amount of time children spend in front of the TV is, in itself, unlikely to improve psychosocial adjustment," researcher Alison Parkes said.
"In future it will be important to look at the influence of what children watch on TV, and the role of parents watching with their child and discussing content with them, as well as how much children watch," Parkes said.
The study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal, questioned the mothers of more than 11,000 kids about their typical hours of TV viewing and video game use at the age of five.
At that age, almost two thirds of kids watched television for between one and three hours per day, with 15 per cent watching more and fewer than two per cent not watching television at all, the report said.
Kids who watched TV for more than three hours a day were 1.3 per cent more likely to have behavioural problems such as stealing or fighting by the age of seven.