Moreover, less monitoring of a child's media use has been linked with a higher body mass index (BMI) in the child at age 7. Monitoring children's electronic media use may help mitigate some of the adverse outcomes later in life, it suggests.

For girls, each additional hour spent playing video games or using a computer on weekdays at age 4 was linked with a two-fold increase in the risk of emotional problems at age 6, the study noted.

And for both boys and girls, each additional hour of weekday TV watching was linked with an increase in the risk of poor family functioning.

If children are allowed to watch TV, parents should try to watch with them to make sure the content is appropriate for the child's age. The study looked at information from more than 3,600 European children ages 2 to 6 years old.

Parents answered questions about their child's well-being, including queries about the child's self-esteem, social networks and emotional problems. The interventions aimed at parental supervision and control of child media exposure may promote healthy child weight development during middle childhood, said the study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.


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