How many times have you placed your child in front of the TV while you were on the phone? Cooking dinner? Working from home? As parents, we typically use our televisions as babysitters which can either be an okay thing, or a not so good thing. Do you know what your children watch?
What Doctors Have to Say about TV and Children
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 2 not be exposed to television. The reason being that children at this age, no matter how well they are developing, have a hard time differentiating between what is true and what is not.
If you were to sit down with your 2 year old while she was watching TV, you would most likely find that she does not care if she is watching a cartoon, commercial, or even the Home Shopping Network. This is a time when our children’s brains are developing rapidly and instead of encouraging imagination and creative play, more and more parents are feeding their children with television. These children need positive interactions with other children and adults in order to develop well.
Increased Benefits of Limiting Children’s Television Time
So what happens when your child meets that 2 year mark? The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly suggests no more than 1-2 hours per day of television, movies, video or computer games for children over the age of 2. To some parents this may seem like a ridiculous and a limited amount of time, especially if you are one of us guilty of using the TV as a babysitter; but, there is a variety of different things your child could be doing that would help her to develop such as playing, coloring or drawing a picture.
What TV is teaching Your Child
Among TV problems such as sexual promiscuity, criminal actions and advertising, the single greatest interest you should have in your child’s television viewing habits is the amount of violence involved. Most cartoons contain strong fantasy violence, and while it is easy for adults to distinguish between right and wrong in these episodes, you would probably be surprised that your children think it is more than okay.
An example of such violence is: Batman is walking down a dark alley and sees a thief walking out of a jewelry shop. What is Batman going to do? Talk to the criminal and let him know what he is doing is wrong, or beat him up because he robbed the jewelry store? Batman is the good guy, so what he did was the right thing to do. All this does is teach your children that violence is the best way to solve their real life problems.
Responsible TV Time
The next time you are on the phone, cooking dinner, or trying to finish work from home, try to find your children a fun and safe activity that they may work on instead of watching television. It will put them one step closer to growing into the adult that you want them to be.
The American Academy of Pediatrics