Is Too Much TV Bad for Kids?


Q: The TV is on in our house most of the day, but our young toddlers don't watch it much of the time. Is this truly bad for them? All we ever hear about are the negative effects of young children watching TV. Aren't there any positives?
– TV Lover

A: Shut off your TV. Hearing television in the background results in toddlers talking less and less listening to others talk. You'll clearly notice this if you observe them playing while the television is on.

You really should follow the TV viewing guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Academy strongly recommends that children do not watch TV until they are age 2. After that, the Academy suggests limiting TV time to no more than two hours per day. These are sensible guidelines for parents to follow and really allow for ample television viewing. You must understand that most of the day in early childhood needs to be devoted to active play to maximize intellectual development. Just think of all the other opportunities to experience the world that your toddlers are missing while watching TV.

There are other negative aspects to watching too much TV at a young age. Some current research shows that later on, many children may have poorer achievement in math in school and be less active physically. They are also likely to consume more junk food than those who have watched less TV.

Early television viewing has been completely demonized by most child-development experts. However, there actually are some positive benefits to preschoolers who watch programs with a strong educational content. Later on, these children might read more and get better grades. Unfortunately, most children are not watching primarily educational programs.


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