How Watching Television Can Negatively Affect Your Child

Childrens behavior in front of a television can vary tremendously. Some children become bored after a short time and can continue to play regardless of whether the TV is on or not. Other children enter into a "coma-like" state, becoming oblivious to the happenings around them. There are good reasons for being concerned about the amount of time young children spend in front of the TV, and parents shouldn't hesitate to set limits on what types of programs children are allowed to watch and how much time they are allowed to watch TV.

When children play quietly at home, without the benefit of TV, they learn to entertain themselves. This kind of quiet time is in short supply for many children today who, from an early age, go from one structured activity to the next. You can avoid having them develop the habit of watching television by simply keeping the set unplugged.

Even if the program is "educational," children benefit more from the games they invent for themselves. Children who develop an early love of books and reading typically do well in school and enjoy learning. Unfortunately, if the TV is constantly on, children may never develop this wonderful habit. Another good reason for keeping the TV off is that many of the programs, even those that air during prime time these days, can be frightening and highly inappropriate for young children.

Parents should be cautious and maybe even think twice before allowing young children in the room while they are watching the local evening news. Local coverage amounts to gory, "eyewitness" accounts of murder, child abuse, and other violent crimes. Don't worry for a moment that this is being overly protective, as most experts agree that our children are feeling vulnerable enough without unnecessary exposure to violence and other social ills.

Recent research has delivered two new strikes against TV, both psychological and physical. The first strike reveals that children become easily agitated and adults are slightly depressed after watching television for long periods of time. As for physical health, a recent study shows that metabolism slows while watching TV to a point lower than if you were just sitting and reading. Consequently, since watching TV and eating often go hand in hand, it's easy to see why we have this unhealthy connection.

It is your right as a parent to say no to television because it is certainly unrealistic to expect our children to limit their own time that they spend in front of the TV. Some parents opt to establish certain times of the day or week for watching TV, while others find it works best to keep the TV off altogether. Or, perhaps, you might choose to keep the TV off on school days/nights but be more lenient on weekends. Still, other parents prefer limiting their children to watching an hour or so each day.

Take more time from your hectic day to spend quality time with your children instead of relying on the television to act as a babysitter. The time spent with your children will be more cherished than any television program that they might miss.

Other helpful articles to help your child develop
Help your child to learn how to read
Financially intelligent parent
Teach your children how to be organized
Tips when reading with your child

Bits and Pieces, Inc.


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