Have you ever wondered why your child can’t have their attention held for more than two minutes on anything but TV?
The answers to these questions may be “yes” and here is the reason. In April 2004 the Journal of Pediatrics published a report that said in short that children who watch TV before age 2 (even “educational” TV) are more prone to difficulties in paying attention then those kids who do not watch TV. That’s not all.
There are many studies that demonstrate the negative effects of TV and technology. Some studies show a tendency towards more violent behavior and desensitization to violence. Other studies show a decrease in helpful and positive behaviors in kids. There is a link with obesity and TV use. And still other studies show that heavy doses of TV and technology decreases children’s ability to read and decreases their grades in school.
Of course we have to ask “is there anything good about TV?” Most parents tell me that, for a time, it gives parents a rest. It occupies their children while parents cook, shower, and do other chores. It is well known how TV serves as short term babysitters for children across the U.S. This “positive” aspect of TV should not be totally discredited. Many parents need to use TV in this manner. But, when weighing the positives and negatives of TV and technology use, it is becoming very clear TV and technology is bad for kids.
Knowing this, why is it that most American families remain hooked to their screens? Well, there is speculation that it is “habit forming” or “addictive”. Add that to the list of negatives!
For the sake of our children we need a mass effort to wake families up to the negative effects of TV and technology. Schools need to initiate “Pull the Plug” campaigns. Families need to have standards for screen use at home. Here are some rules for families.
Minimize use of TV as a babysitter.
No TV for all children under 2 years old.
One hour of “screen time” per day or 7 hours total per week. That “screen time” should include computer, IM, game boy or play station time.
Reading time should exist at home.
Homework time should exist separate from reading time.
Videos and movies also should count as screen time.
Don’t fear changes away from screen time. The positive changes in your home will far outweigh the negative.
Come to my workshop on TV and technology at Cape Ann Families 6 PM on April 4th to discuss more about what we can do about TV and our kids.