The average American child spends 26 hours a week watching television, children are beginning to watch television earlier in life than before. Television is often used as a “babysitter” or children are allowed to have a TV in their bedroom, so parents loose control over what and how much television is watched, and not spend enough family time with their children.
common sense also tells us a lot of TV time is not healthy, and research support those instincts. There is evidence that watching TV is associated with increased snacking on junk food, thus contributing to increased caloric intake. Sedentary television along with increased caloric intake promotes obesity, so little self-esteem and other health problems related to excess weight. Some problems immediately, some come in adulthood. Studies show that television violence contributes real life aggression in children and can even lead to the development of ADHD, and increase risk-taking behavior in adolescents.
What can parents do to prevent these harmful effects of TV? It’s simple. Turn off the TV and encourage play! The first two years of a child’s life represents a critical window for neurological development. Children should not be allowed to watch TV at all at the time. Instead they should play with age appropriate toys that will help them develop manual dexterity and imagination.
After age 2, children should watch no more than 1-2 hours of TV (which includes computer time, too!). The American Academy of Pediatrics says that according to TV watching more than 1-2 hours a day can cause sleep behavior and attention problems, so experts recommend setting limits on TV viewing children.
Research shows that it is easier to reduce sedentary behavior than it is to increase physical activity. When parents set limits on TV / computer time, children become more active. However, parents need to be a little more initiative to increase physical activity for their children by scheduling playtime participation exercise.
child should never have a television in their bedroom, as it contributes to watch too much TV and leaves the child from the family. In addition, when the child has a TV room, his or her parents lose control over what and how much TV their child watches. Television should be used as a teaching tool for older children. Parents should choose the programs they would want their children to watch, watch them together as a family, and use them as a starting point for discussion. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following to help your child develop positive viewing habits
1. threshold. Limit the use of children’s television, film and video and computer games no more than 1 or 2 hours a day. Do not let your children watch TV while doing homework. Do not put a television in your child’s bedroom.
2. Plan what to watch. Instead of flipping through channels, use the program and TV ratings to help you and your children choose which shows to watch. Turn on the TV to watch the program and turn it off when it’s over. Or use as TiVo DVR to record only shows the child is allowed to watch. You can skip through commercials, too!
3. Watch TV with your children. Whenever possible, watch TV with your children and talk about what they see. If your children are very young, they may not be able to tell the difference between show, commercial, cartoon, or reality. Be especially careful of “reality-based” programs. Most of these shows are not appropriate for children.
4. Find the right message. Some TV programs show people that stereotypes. If you see this, talk to your kids about the real role of women, the elderly and people of other races.
5. Help your children to resist advertising. When your children ask for things they see on TV, explaining that the purpose of advertising is to make people want things they may not need.
6. Look for quality children’s video and DVD. There are many videos and DVDs quality available for children. Check reviews before buying or renting programs or films.
7. Give other options. Watching TV can become a habit for your children. Help them find other things to do such as playing, reading, learning a hobby, a sport, tools, or art, or spend time with family, friends or neighbors.
8. a good example. As a model, limit their TV viewing and choosing programs carefully will help your children to do the same.
9. Express your views. When you want or do not like something you see on TV, make yourself heard. Stations, networks, and sponsors the attention of letters from the public. If you think the ad is misleading or inappropriate targeting children, write down the name of the product, channel, and when you saw the ad and describe your concerns.