NEW YORK – The federal government is getting involved in studying what effects various forms of media have on children's health, cognitive development and skills.
About $90 million is being spent for researchers to figure out whether kids' favorite TV shows, movies and video games are actually bad for their health.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman (search), D-Conn., co-authored the bill aimed at determining the long-term effects of prolonged exposure to mass media.
"The media is such an important part in our children's lives that we need to have the federal government to tell us scientifically what impact it's having on our kids and, therefore, our country," Lieberman said.
Many advocates for children have long believed that electronic media, including the Internet, have detrimental effects on children and that too much exposure can lead to obesity (search), violence or sexual aggression.
Research shows that kids spend more time watching TV than on any other activity except sleeping. But even groups like the Parents Television Council, which advocates family-friendly programming, believe the money would be better spent on action rather than legislation.
"To spend $90 million on something that we already know, is just a waste of money," said Lara Mahaney of the Parents Television Council.
Lieberman says parents need to play a more active role in what their kids are watching.
"You can't put it all off on the entertainment industry," he said.
Click on the video box at the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' Melanie Schuman.