Children’s TV habits are as diverse as they are impatient. Some become bored after fifteen minutes and play in spite of of whether the TV is on or not. Others enter an altered state, becoming oblivious to the world around them.
Good Reasons For A Child To Watch Television
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, and how much, children watch.
Children learn to entertain themselves, when they play quietly at home, without the benefit of TV. 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 developing a TV habit 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 now, are frightening and highly inappropriate for young children.
Parents should also think twice before watching the evening news with young children in the house. Local coverage amounts to gory, “eyewitness” accounts of murder, child abuse, and other violent crimes.
You shouldn’t worry for a moment that this attitude is overly protective. Many experts agree that children feel vulnerable enough and it is our job, not theirs, to worry about violence and other social ills.
Recent research has delivered two new strikes against TV, both psychological and physical. In the first case, after watching TV for extended periods of time, children become agitated, and adults are found to be slightly depressed.
As for physical health, a recent study found that the metabolism slows during TV viewing to a point lower than if you were sitting and reading. And since watching TV and eating often go hand in hand, it is easy to see why this is an unhealthy connection.
It is your right as a parent to say no to television. Certainly, it is unrealistic to expect children to limit their own viewing. It may help to establish certain times of the day or week. Some families find it works to keep the TV off altogether on school nights and to be more lenient on the weekend. Other parents prefer allowing children to watch an hour or so each day.