Older children should watch no more than two hours a day, the researchers at the Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Centre in Seattle said.
Each hour in front of the TV increased a child's chances of attention deficit disorder by 10%, their research in the Pediatrics journal showed.
The study of 1,345 children showed three hours TV a day made children 30% more likely to have the disorder.
Dr Dimitri Christakis at the children's hospital led the study. He said: "The newborn brain develops very rapidly during the first two to three years of life. It's really being wired."
TV can cause the developing mind to experience unnatural levels of stimulation
Dr Dimitri Christakis
Children who were exposed to the unrealistic levels of stimulation at a young age continued to expect this in later life, leading to difficulty dealing with the slower pace of school and homework, he said.
"TV can cause the developing mind to experience unnatural levels of stimulation," he said.
This was made worse by the rapid image change that television makers used to keep young children interested, Dr Christakis added.
Parents were questioned about their children's viewing habits and asked to rate their behaviour at age seven on a scale similar to that used to diagnose attention deficit disorders.
The youngsters who watched the most television were more likely to rank within the top 10% for concentration problems, impulsiveness, restlessness and being easily confused.
Frederick Zimmerman of the University of Washington in Seattle, another of the authors, said it was impossible to say what a "safe" level of TV viewing would be for children between the ages of one and three.
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"Each hour has an additional risk. You might say there's no safe level since there's a small but increased risk with each hour," he said.
"Things are a trade-off. Some parents might want to take that risk. We didn't find a safe level in that sense."
Between three and five per cent of children in the US are diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.
The researchers admitted there could be problems in the study as the parents' views may not be totally accurate.
Also it was not possible to know whether the children already had attention problems early on that attracted them to TV viewing.
I believe it is wrong for parents to attempt raising children without a TV. The major problem with this, is the fact that television is extremely mainstream in America and it could almost be seen as a common part of our society. Keeping children away from TV and "banning" it, will only make them more curious about it.
Parents should not raise children without TV. Television is important because of the news and helps us relax after a long day and escape reality by letting us get interested in shows. I think that parents should monitor the amount of television that a child is allow to watch though.
Parents should not raise children without TV I do not think it is really helpful in the long run. This child will grow up not being able to really connect with other children who can watch it and will look like the odd man out when they are having a discussion related to a TV show.
Television is a fast way to get knowledge and communicate with the outside world. Educational shows can help inform people about particular concepts in science, math and history. Parents can raise kids without television, but that doesn't mean they should. Television is a modern convenience that should be embraced. Just because some television shows are bad influences, not all of them all. The benefits of TV far outweigh the detriments.
I think that the witch hunt against television needs to end. A television can be a great learning device, it can bring families together, and it can be a great source of entertainment. If a parent knows how to moderate their children, the television should not present any problems at all.
TV should not raise children on its own, and too much TV may not be good thing for growing children; then again, nothing taken to the extreme is particularly good for growing children, and TV shouldn't be singled out. TV provides a great distraction and can help with children's creativity.
No, children should be allowed to watch TV, but TV shouldn't be the primary focus. Television has become one of the main forms of entertainment in our society. Many debates have been given about the length of time young children should engage in TV. There are lots of kid friendly programming, which can actually enhance their learning. The problem exists when parents don't focus their attention on their children and allow the TV to become a "babysitter".