Even though the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that 2 year olds not watch TV and older children watch no more than 1 to hours a day, most children are watching more. According to the Kaiser foundation, 2/3 of infants and toddlers watch an average of 2 hours a day and by the time kids are 8-18 years, they spend nearly 4 hours a day watching TV (and even more on the computer and video games). The average child will witness 200,000 violent acts on TV by age 18. On average, kids see 40,000 commercial each year.
What are the downsides of too much TV time?
• It may interfere with activities such as reading, doing homework, spending time with friends and family.
• Watching too much TV is linked with obesity; while watching TV, kids are inactive and tend to snack.
• Children who watch violence on TV are more likely to show aggressive behavior; even the “good guys” on TV often solve problems with violence.
• TV characters in shows and commercials often depict risky behaviors such as sex and substance abuse without any discussion of the consequences.
What are some ways to promote good TV habits in your home?
• Limit the hours of TV watching and instead provide plenty of other entertainment (books, puzzles, board games, etc…).
• Keep TV out of bedrooms and turn off the TV during meals and homework time.
• Set a good example by limiting TV viewing yourself.
• Check program reviews and ratings and try to preview programs before kids watch them.
• Watch TV together and talk about what your kids are seeing – sharing your own values and discussing consequences of behaviors and acts seen on television.
My recommendation is to turn off the TV and enjoy some family fun!