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Studies indicate excessive television may increase aggression, anxiety and withdrawal from society in children

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How Many Hours Does the Average Child Watch TV?

by Kristie Sweet, Demand Media

  • Children may spend an average of seven hours daily using entertainment media like televisions.

Children may spend an average of seven hours daily using entertainment media like televisions.

Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

In 1966, television producer Joan Cooney heard someone at a party bemoan the effect television was having on his daughter, who would sit for hours watching the test patterns. That conversation eventually prompted Cooney to develop the children's program "Sesame Street." Years later, parents still worry about the dangers of letting their children watch TV. How much do modern children watch?

Ages

According to Nielsen statistics for 2011, teenagers ages 12 to 17 spend about 100 hours watching television each month. Children between the ages of two and 11 watch even more TV, an average of 109 hours and six minutes each month. Although these numbers may seem high, they do indicate a reduction from the previous year when teens clocked 105 monthly hours and younger children viewed 112 hours and 46 minutes of television each month.

Other Media

When DVD, DVR, video and game console viewing is added to the mix, the numbers clearly rise. A University of Michigan study found children ages six to 11 used televisions for about 28 hours each week for such activities. But preschoolers spend even more time engaged in videos and gaming - 32 hours each week. These numbers indicate elementary-aged children use videos and games for about seven hours each month, while those under six spend about 16 hours during the month on these actions.

Effects

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children over the age of two should watch television for only one or two hours per day, about half the current average. Higher amounts of television use can lead to problems concentrating, obesity, eating disorders and sleeping difficulties. Some studies also indicate excessive television may increase aggression, anxiety and withdrawal from society. Children might even mimic behaviors that demonstrate gender and racial bias, or risky activities such as smoking and drinking and promiscuity.

Recommendations

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents avoid television entirely for children under the age of two in order to avoid negative impact on the fast-paced brain development during this stage. Parents can cut down the amount of TV for older children by engaging them in other activities such as reading, sports and outdoor play, and by removing televisions from children's bedrooms. Setting aside rooms in the house as television-free zones - or certain times as TV-free periods - can reduce TV's negative effects.

References

About the Author

Kristie Sweet has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Northern Colorado.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
by on Feb. 26, 2013 at 2:58 PM
Replies (11-20):
UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 7:56 PM
1 mom liked this

I was diagnosed with ADHD when i was 5 and didn't watch TV until i was 11. TV doesn't cause ADHD or Autism, bad wiring and wacky serotonin levels do.

I agree though screens are bad for children and negatively impact their development.

Quoting furbabymum:

 Well duh. ADHD didn't just pop up. How is a kid supposed to go to school and concentrate when he's been plopped in front of a television with constant stimulation at home. Autism can even be related back to television.

Of course proponents of TV will talk non-stop about how educational and good for their kids it is. Uh huh. I am disgusted at the amount of people buying their kids tablets. Get them a book, it's better for them.



NewMom11222011
by Bronze Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Yep, hope it wasn't our tax dollars that funded the "studies."

Quoting TranquilMind:

We all knew this.


Mama2Spencerninja

teddysmama09
by on Feb. 26, 2013 at 9:49 PM
1 mom liked this

 The other day i asked my 3 year old if he wanted me to turn a cartoon on for him to watch and he shouted "NO! TV hurts my eyes and makes my brain fall out!"

From the mouths of babes......lol

 

MeAndTommyLee
by Gold Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 10:57 PM

There's nothing to watch on television anyway.  Read a book, and no, a real book with pages and everything!

LindaClement
by Linda on Feb. 26, 2013 at 11:24 PM
1 mom liked this

No kidding, really?

I didn't know that the Centre for the Completely Obvious was still publishing their everyone-already-knew-that Journal. 

LindaClement
by Linda on Feb. 26, 2013 at 11:27 PM
1 mom liked this

Or, here's a novel idea: 

Maybe kids whose lives are largely spend anonymous in groups of other kids their same age, making up the reported majority who hear the word 'no' 17,000 times before they turn 2, and having 98% of the words spoken to them by a live adult be directive or punitive ... MAYBE they turn to TV as a way of coping with the tremendous stress in their lives, and the lack of love and affection they feel in any given week?

As in: without tv, they'd still be aggressive, anti-social and anxiety-ridden...

Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Feb. 26, 2013 at 11:28 PM
1 mom liked this
As with everything in life, you need moderation.

My son uses a Kindle for some of his therapy and I love that it works so well for him. So technology in this house is very much appreciated :-)
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Feb. 26, 2013 at 11:31 PM
2 moms liked this
Actually many kids with Autism get a lot of needed help using tablets...

My son uses a Kindle and I love the apps he uses. One is an app that helps him with his Speech Therapy and it is amazing. He also reads books on the Kindle and hardback books as well. :-)


Quoting furbabymum:

 Well duh. ADHD didn't just pop up. How is a kid supposed to go to school and concentrate when he's been plopped in front of a television with constant stimulation at home. Autism can even be related back to television.


Of course proponents of TV will talk non-stop about how educational and good for their kids it is. Uh huh. I am disgusted at the amount of people buying their kids tablets. Get them a book, it's better for them.

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
furbabymum
by Gold Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 10:43 AM

 There are a lot of causes for these things but excessive television usage has been studied and is a huge contributing factor to these disorders. I realize I wrote that in such a way as to say it was the only reason.

Quoting UpSheRises:

I was diagnosed with ADHD when i was 5 and didn't watch TV until i was 11. TV doesn't cause ADHD or Autism, bad wiring and wacky serotonin levels do.

I agree though screens are bad for children and negatively impact their development.

Quoting furbabymum:

 Well duh. ADHD didn't just pop up. How is a kid supposed to go to school and concentrate when he's been plopped in front of a television with constant stimulation at home. Autism can even be related back to television.

Of course proponents of TV will talk non-stop about how educational and good for their kids it is. Uh huh. I am disgusted at the amount of people buying their kids tablets. Get them a book, it's better for them.

 

 

 

rotPferd
by Silver Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 11:02 AM

 I just don't buy it. It's the same as saying that violent video games cause ppl to go out and shoot up a school. And as I recall, most moms on here have disagreed with that.

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