T stands for TV: Swedish teens watching more

Sweden is becoming a couch-potato nation. Statistics Sweden is out with a report on the time Swedish youngsters spend in front of the television - and the hours are adding up.

Half of kids between the ages of 10 and 18 spend one to two hours each day watching the tube. Nearly one-third of teens spend more than three hours in front of the TV.

“Previous studies show that hours in front of the television have increased gradually over 15 years. While growing up, grade-school kids spend as much time watching tv as they do in school, if you add up total hours,” Sven Bremberg at the Swedish National Institute of Public Health told Svenska Dagbladet.

About 4-5 percent of kids spend even more time watching – and possibly eating. Experts say watching TV can increase aggressiveness and weight problems. Lately, Sweden has been concerned with its expanding waistline problem (link to previous story.)

Bremberg admits that the type of programs the children watch can make a difference.

“If the content is informative, their school performance can improve. But the majority of programming is pure entertainment.”

Statistics Sweden says there are no particular regional patterns, and tv-watching is fairly evenly spread between girls and boys. But more kids of single parents watch more tv, and more children of working-class parents are glued to the tube.

On the brighter side, 17-18 percent spend less than one hour per day watching TV and a small portion of Swedish kids don’t watch any TV.

Front page picture: Combo is SVT’s music competition for kids. Presented by Josefine Sundström, the next show is on Friday 16th Dec at 7pm.