Study co-author Bob Hancox of the University of Otago, New Zealand, and colleagues followed a group of about 1,000 children born in the New Zealand city of Dunedin in 1972-73.
The children and teens were asked every two years when they were the ages of 5-15 how much television they watched.
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found the children and teens who watched more television were more likely to have a criminal conviction and were also more likely to have anti-social personality traits in adulthood.
Hancox and colleagues found the risk of having a criminal conviction by early adulthood increased by about 30 percent with every hour that children spent watching TV on an average weeknight.
The study also found watching more television in childhood was associated, in adulthood, with aggressive personality traits, an increased tendency to experience negative emotions, and an increased risk of anti-social personality disorder.
Study co-author Lindsay Robertson said it was not that children who were already anti-social watched more television.
"Rather, children who watched a lot of television were likely to go on to manifest anti-social behavior and personality traits," Robertson said.