TV Viewing, Computer Game Playing and Nightmares in School Children

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Often the question arises whether TV viewing or playing computer games, especially those of violent and aggressive content, has negative effects on children's sleep patterns and dreaming. Empirical data on this topic, however, are scarce. Two hundred fifty-two schoolchildren (range: 9 to 13 years) completed a questionnaire about media use and nightmares. The findings indicates that interindividual differences in nightmare frequency were not explained by interindividual differences in TV viewing or computer game playing habits. In addition, no effect of the TV films the evening before completing the questionnaire on the dreams the subsequent night could be demonstrated. Since the approach could not rule out an effect of media use habits on nightmares, the next step will be a longitudinal study eliciting the media use habits and the occurrence of nightmares by applying self-rated scales as well as information obtained by parents.

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