Are Your Kids Watching Too Much TV?
The Inside Story of the Media's Effect on Our Children
The Plug-In Drug : Television, Computers, and Family Life
The average American child watches at least three hours of television per day, which means that some children watch fewer hours but some children watch more hours. This doesn't even include playing video or computer games.
Too much TV viewing can impact a child in several ways. First of course is that it cuts into family time. With both parents working and extra-curricular activities galore, most families today are hard pressed to spend much time together at all. What little time they do have to spend together is often spent watching television to relax.
Most experts agree that children who watch a lot of television tend to be more overweight than their counterparts who watch less TV. There are two reasons for this. The first is that watching TV is a sedentary activity. The second is that many children (and parents) tend to snack while they watch their favorite programs or movies.
While some television programs such as those broadcast on PBS can be used as educational tools, many other so-called children's programs are anything but that. Have you watched any Saturday morning cartoons lately? If you haven't you might be in for a surprise.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics there are 20 to 25 episodes of violence in a single hour of cartoon programming. And I thought cartoons were supposed to be funny! No longer is it just the "bad" guy that kicks, punches, kills, and maims now it's often the "good" guy who does it as well. Children younger than 8 years old are not able to tell the difference between fantasy and reality and may find these programs frightening or exhibit signs of aggressive behavior themselves.
Also, keep in mind that just because your kids are watching educational programs, watching them all day long can impact their ability to learn and develop the way children are supposed to. Childhood is all about actively discovering the world-playing, pretending, exploring, reading, and interacting with parents and siblings.
Related article: Tips for Managing Your Child's TV Viewing
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