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Cutting Back on TV Time for Kids

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:49pm
DR. BENARD DREYER, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS SPOKESPERSON: Think of how many hours children watch TV when they could be doing so many other things that are more useful to them and more exciting.

ANNOUNCER: American children watch an average of three to fours hours of television daily, and experts say that's too much.

DR. BENARD DREYER, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS SPOKESPERSON: If you're watching more than two hours of TV a day, it's taking up too much of your free time that you need to be reading and playing and talking and actually doing some exercise.

ANNOUNCER: So what's the best way to cut back on your kids' TV time?

DR. BENARD DREYER, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS SPOKESPERSON: The activities that should replace it are playing with age-appropriate toys, which, if given the option, children will do that. Being read to by their parents or by some other baby-sitter or anybody who's watching them. You know, as they get a little older, you know, playing with simple puzzles, taking a walk outside and exploring the world.

ANNOUNCER: And what about educational videos made for smaller kids?

DR. BENARD DREYER, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS SPOKESPERSON: Frequently parents who buy infant videos and things like that are genuinely wanting to do the best for their kids but it's somewhat of a hoax that has been put on parents, that they need these DVDs to make their children smart. If they're going to spend time with their children, all they need to do is read to them, talk with them, play with them and walk around the world with them, and the DVD is, if anything, I think going to get in the way of their interaction.

ANNOUNCER: And when your kids do watch TV, don't let them do it alone.

DR. BENARD DREYER, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS SPOKESPERSON: If you watch TV with your child, you can really make it a better experience. Because then when the child is seeing something on TV, you can begin to explain it to them, and they -- they will get more out of it.

ANNOUNCER: Sometimes all it takes to dial down your children's TV-watching is to cut back on your own.

DR. BENARD DREYER, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS SPOKESPERSON: If the parents have the TV on all day for themselves, you know, it's going to be sort of natural that the child is watching TV. So if parents want to do something about it, or if we want parents to do something about it, they're going to have to turn off the TV not only for the child, but for themselves.

ANNOUNCER: Thanks for joining us on today's Once Daily!

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