Background United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a rapidly changing society, and little is known about the children’s free-time activities and their interference with the development and behavior. The recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) state that children older than 2 years should watch quality television (TV) programs not more than 2 hours per day; and those younger than 2 years should avoid any TV viewing. Previous studies linked early TV viewing with later developmental and behavioral problems.
Aims Esstimate average amount of daily time of TV/video games viewing in UAE children; and sociodemographic, behavior and other variables associated with TV/video games viewing.
Methods In a case control study, 211 school children (68% males, mean age 8.7 years) from United Arab Emirates were investigated. The children with developmental and behavioral disorders (n=98) were compared with children without any developmental and behavioral disorders (n=113) in regard to the time of watching TV/video games per day.
Results children who watched TV/playing games over 2 hours/day had significantly ADHD and higher total CBCL scored than the children who watched TV/playing games less than 2 hours/day. The two groups also differed on the following CBCL subscales: withdrawn, attention, aggressive and delinquent behavior. In terms of learning abilities and IQ levels were did not differed from the children who watched TV/playing games less than 2 hours/day.
Conclusions 1/3 of children in UAE viewed TV/video games for more than the recommended 2 hours per day which found to be associated more with behavioral problems.