Does TV Change a Kid's Mood?

While television can offer your child education and entertainment opportunities, it also has the ability to affect his mood in either a positive or negative way. As a result, what your child watches on TV has the potential to be just influential as how much television he watches 1. It is important to understand the ways your child’s mood can be affected by television and how you can help encourage a positive result.

Negative Effects

According to child development experts at the Kids Health website, the average child will witness 200,000 violent acts on television by 18 years of age 1. As a result, your child’s mood can be aggressive and she might even experience desensitization to violence. Experts at the site also state that children who view violent television are more likely to fear that something negative will happen to them, leading to bad dreams, anxious feelings and an anti-social attitude. Viewing things like alcohol, drugs and promiscuous sex can make your child more open to those risky behaviors. Finally, the University of Michigan Health System website warns that television can make your child more accepting of racial and gender stereotypes that are presented 12.

Positive Effects

Although television carries a lot of potential to affect your child’s mood negatively, the results are sometimes positive, depending on the programming your child watches. The University of Michigan Health System website states that shows with a pro-social message and positive role models can have a positive effect on behaviors and can result in your child’s mood being upbeat, optimistic and helpful 12.

Indirect Effects

In addition to television’s content, watching it in general can affect your child’s mood if it takes up a lot of his time. Television can take away from time spent doing homework and interacting with others or participating in physical activity. Watching it too close to bedtime can also cause your child to have trouble sleeping, which can make him moody and irritable.


Reinforce the positive changes that television has on your child’s mood by making sure she watches age-appropriate and positive programming. If necessary, set parental controls on your TV to keep her from viewing shows with violence or other negative behaviors. Set limitations regarding the amount of time your child can spend watching television, and offer reassurance if she sees something that frightens or confuses her.