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How Television affects Children and What you can do about it!

Posted Dec 07 2009 12:19am
Most kids start watching tevelision long they enter school and here are some interesting figures:

* two-thirds of infants and toddlers watch a screen an average of 2 hours a day
* kids under age 6 watch an average of about 2 hours of screen media a day
* kids and teens 8 to 18 years spend nearly 4 hours a day in front of a TV screen and almost 2 additional hours on the computer and playing video games

The first 2 years of life are considered a critical time for brain development. TV and other electronic media can get in the way of exploring, playing, and interacting with parents and others, which encourages learning and healthy physical and social development.

As kids get older, too much screen time can interfere with activities such as being physically active, reading, doing homework, playing with friends, and spending time with family.


* Children who consistently spend more than 4 hours per day watching TV are more likely to be overweight.
* Kids who view violent acts are more likely to show aggressive behavior but also fear that the world is scary and that something bad will happen to them.
* TV characters often depict risky behaviors, such as smoking and drinking, and also reinforce gender-role and racial stereotypes.

The bottomline is that your child can become obese, aggressive, violent and risk taking if he/she watches too much television.


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids under 2 years old not watch any TV and that those older than 2 watch no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of quality programming.

Good TV Habits

Here are some practical ways to make TV-viewing more productive in your home:

1. Stock the room in which you have your TV with plenty of other non-screen entertainment (books, kids' magazines, toys, puzzles, board games, etc.) to encourage kids to do something other than watch the tube.
2. Keep TVs out of bedrooms.
3. Turn the TV off during meals.
4. Don't allow kids to watch TV while doing homework.
5. Treat TV as a privilege to be earned — not a right. Establish and enforce family TV viewing rules, such as TV is allowed only after chores and homework are completed.
6. Set a good example by limiting your own TV viewing.
7. Check the TV listings and program reviews ahead of time for programs your family can watch together (i.e., developmentally appropriate and nonviolent programs that reinforce your family's values). Choose shows that foster interest and learning in hobbies and education (reading, science, etc.). Basically monitor what your kids are watching on the TV or computer
8. Come up with a family TV schedule that you all agree upon each week. Then, post the schedule in a visible area (e.g., on the refrigerator) so that everyone knows which programs are OK to watch and when. And make sure to turn off the TV when the "scheduled" program is over instead of channel surfing.
9. Watch TV together. If you can't sit through the whole program, at least watch the first few minutes to assess the tone and appropriateness, then check in throughout the show.
10. Talk to other parents, your doctor, and teachers about their TV-watching policies and kid-friendly programs they'd recommend.
11. Offer fun alternatives to television. If your kids want to watch TV but you want to turn off the tube, suggest that you all play a board game, start a game of hide and seek, play outside, read, work on crafts or hobbies, or listen and dance to music. The possibilities for fun without the tube are endless — so turn off the TV and enjoy the quality time together.

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