Concerns over the amount of time children are spending at television and computer screens.

Leading British psychologist Dr Aric Sigman who carried out research on the effects of television on children, has said that toddlers who spend a significant amount of time watching TV or playing computer games, could suffer learning difficulties. Dr Aric Sigman argues that children under five years of age could also develop serious behavioural problems excess screen time and calls for a ban on pre-school children watching television.

Dr Aric Sigman also suggests that watching violent TV programmes and computer games could affect brain functions resulting in impulsive and aggressive behaviour.

Four year old Matthew Gillis plays on his computer for half an hour every evening. His father supports this and sees Matthew learning all the time. Not everyone believes that this is a suitable way for children under five to pass their time.

John Sharry, principal social worker at the Mater Hospital, agrees that there are concerns over excessive television viewing. He argues that it is a bit excessive to suggest that TV should be banned. There are actually some benefits to young children to watching small amounts of selected television programmes.

Irish children top the European league when it comes to watching television. The INTO says that there is evidence to suggest that children who do not have a television in their bedroom do better at maths than those who do. A spokesperson said that an outright ban on television was unrealistic and common sense should prevail.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 7 February 2008. The reporter is Ailbhe Connell.