Violent video for pre-schoolers disturbs sleep

August 6, 2012 3:16:42 PM PDT
If you have young kids, and they're not sleeping well, the problem could be what they're watching on videos and television.

A new study of 3 to 5-year-olds shows that violence before bedtime - even in cartoons - makes it harder for kids to fall asleep and wake up in the morning. Plus, it increases nightmares during sleep.

When the videos were replaced with more age-appropriate or educational ones, kids slept better.

Dr. Jyoti Krishna, a pediatric sleep specialist, says, "Just by changing the kinds of things they're watching or interacting with from violent, take it away and make it educational, things like Curious George, Dora the Explorer, things that are multi-ethnic, multi-racial, educational, makes children sleep better at night."

Dr. Krishna says parents should keep careful tabs on what their kids watch.

"I would encourage parents to be mindful of the ratings and the content of the media they purchase for the children and not give in to every little thing," he says.

Experts say young children think in LITERAL terms, and can't understand pretend monsters or make-believe violence, even when parents explain it to them.

They encourage parents to watch alongside their kids, so monitor the content and see how their kids react to it.

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