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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 (21-30):
lga1965
by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 11:18 AM
2 moms liked this
I don't agree. Most studies don't take into consideration the home environment . I think most kids emulate their parents. If their parents ignore them and don't monitor what the kids watch then that's bad and the parents fault. parents who discuss what is on TV with their kids contribute a positive learning experience. Not only that,but watching educational TV is good for everyone in the family. I think TV is getting a bad rap and saying that you
don't have a TV is snobby,pseudointellectual. A fad.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Mar. 9, 2013 at 2:31 PM

I can certainly see the down falls to sitting in front of a television for hours and hours.

It isn't good for any one.  No matter their age.

Add in what some watch and you are going to end up with some people who truly will have issues they take with them once the television is turned off.

TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Mar. 9, 2013 at 2:32 PM


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.

 Autism is a neurological condition that has Nothing to do with television. You should be careful about spreading that kind of misinformation.

TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Mar. 9, 2013 at 2:35 PM

 You are wrong. Tv watching has Nothing to do with Autism. It is Not a contributing factor. Period.

Quoting furbabymum:

 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.



 


furbabymum
by Gold Member on Mar. 9, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Really because I read several studies that contradict you.

Quoting TruthSeeker.:


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.

 Autism is a neurological condition that has Nothing to do with television. You should be careful about spreading that kind of misinformation.


TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Mar. 9, 2013 at 8:20 PM
1 mom liked this

  Yes, really. And if you have some studies feel free to post them. 

Quoting furbabymum:

Really because I read several studies that contradict you.

Quoting TruthSeeker.:


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.

 Autism is a neurological condition that has Nothing to do with television. You should be careful about spreading that kind of misinformation.


 

MrsImperfect
by Bronze Member on Mar. 9, 2013 at 8:24 PM
2 moms liked this
Autism and ADHD is not because of television. My son has both and was born with both. Diagnosed as a toddler before he knew what tv was.

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 the NEW CafeMom Mobile
LindaClement
by Thatwoman on Mar. 9, 2013 at 8:50 PM

Yup.

Quoting MrsImperfect:

Autism and ADHD is not because of television. My son has both and was born with both. Diagnosed as a toddler before he knew what tv was.

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.


LindaClement
by Thatwoman on Mar. 9, 2013 at 8:51 PM

You're correct: unrelated.

It's also unrelated to MMR vaccines.

Quoting TruthSeeker.:

 You are wrong. Tv watching has Nothing to do with Autism. It is Not a contributing factor. Period.

Quoting furbabymum:

 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.



 



TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Mar. 9, 2013 at 9:05 PM

  I wouldn't know. Neither of my children received the MMR vaccine.

Quoting LindaClement:

You're correct: unrelated.

It's also unrelated to MMR vaccines.

Quoting TruthSeeker.:

 You are wrong. Tv watching has Nothing to do with Autism. It is Not a contributing factor. Period.

Quoting furbabymum:

 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.

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