Television and Kids: How do I stop my child from watching TV?

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Stop my child from watching TV: Contrary to popular belief, research says that TV is detrimental to kids. Here are some tips to help wean them away!

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Is watching television harmful to kids?

Television and Kids: How do I stop my child from watching TV?

As a working mother, I usually allow my children to watch something on TV as I whip up dinner. However, when a friend mentioned that TV has negative effects on children, it made me think twice about what I had been doing. I had been allowing my three-year-old and two year-old daughters to watch TV  and I was not even aware of the effects it may cause. I somehow felt guilty and knew I had to investigate more about this. There are parents who say that TV has helped in the development of their children but research studies seem to state otherwise.

Negative Effects
Based on research studies, TV exposure is said to cause short attention span, decreased parent-child interactions, daytime sleepiness, poor school performance, violent behavior, and obesity among children.

Since 1998, the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA) has recommended that children who are two years and below, should not be exposed to TV. This is based on a 1998 study which shows that there is a link between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) among children (who are 7 years old) and their TV watching habits formed in their early years.

TV watching is also known to lessen and even hinder parent-child interactions. Obviously, this takes place when a parent, who comes home from work, turns on the TV to entertain the kids as he or she prepares a meal or does some household chores. Instead of spending time with the kids, parents rely on the television to baby-sit their children while they take time to accomplish tasks rather than spend time with them.

Likewise, if kids spend too much time watching TV even up to the wee hours of the night, this may cause daytime sleepiness. And when kids are sleepy while attending their classes, this will affect their concentration and eventually lead to poor school performance.

There are also studies which indicate that children exhibit violent behavior based on a TV program’s level of violence and the amount of time spent watching it. Moreover, a link has been found between obesity and the time spent in watching TV. As children watch more television, they are bound to stuff themselves with candy, soda and salty snacks.

Positive Effects
Not much has been published on the positive effects of watching TV but some parents confirm that through it their young children learn new concepts and skills. TV shows such as “Blue’s Clues”,  “Barney”, “Sesame Street”, “Your Baby Can Read” and others teach children to learn new words, memorize the letters of the alphabet, count  using numbers, pronounce words, name objects and things, sing songs, learn to dance, and exhibit good manners. However, it should be noted these effects will come about when parents watch the shows with their kids and interact with them to learn those things they see on TV.

Alternative options
If, as a parent, you think that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, then there are alternative activities you and your children can engage in without exposure to TV. One activity is to spend time together when you come home. Instead of spending more time preparing a meal, whip up a simple and easy-to-make dish so you can spend more time with them.

Another activity is to involve your children in what you do. If you are cooking, then let them take part in washing the vegetables or preparing a few ingredients. Aside from these, you can set up an activity/play area near the kitchen or your work area. So while you are cooking a meal or washing the dishes, they can imitate what you are doing or they can do other activities such as art projects.

However, if you should allow your children to watch TV, implement some rules so your children are guided. Tell your children to follow a time limit, watch only educational and interactive TV shows, not to watch late-night shows, and not to eat snack food in front of the TV. And when they watch TV, make sure that you are with them to guide them and to explain things they might not yet understand.

In these days of modern technology, parents are enjoined to be vigilant in exposing their children to television. Watching TV may have positive effects but allowing your kids to watch indiscriminately may be detrimental. So the slogan: “Parental guidance is advised” will always be true.

 

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