To estimate associations between children's peer integration and amount of time they spend (1) watching television, (2) watching violent television, and (3) coviewing television with friends.
Survey using nationally representative data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics–Child Development Supplement Wave 1.
Nationwide survey of families with young children performed in 1997.
Of 3562 children, 1356 had sufficient data for inclusion in analyses (563 children aged 6 to 8 years and 793 children aged 9 to 12 years).
Total time viewing television, with and without friends present, and time viewing violent and nonviolent television content.
Main Outcome Measure
Amount of time children spent with friends as reported in two 24-hour activity diaries.
Viewing violent programs (but not nonviolent programs) was negatively related to time children spent with friends (aged 6-8 years, unstandardized regression coefficient [β] = − 0.34, 95% confidence interval [CI], − 0.59 to − 0.08; aged 9-12 years, β = − 0.41, 95% CI, − 0.65 to − 0.18). More time viewing television with friends was associated with more time engaging in other activities with friends (aged 6-8 years, β = 0.98, 95% CI, 0.61 to 1.36; aged 9-12 years, β = 1.03, 95% CI, 0.72 to 1.34).
The more time that children spent viewing violent programs, the less time they spent with their friends. While this study cannot determine the direction of effects for this relationship, a cyclical process between violent media and peer integration best explains the findings. To optimize social development and mental health, children's access to violent media should be limited.