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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 (41-50):
futureshock
by Ruby Member on Mar. 9, 2013 at 11:15 PM


Quoting lga1965:

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.

lol

futureshock
by Ruby Member on Mar. 9, 2013 at 11:21 PM


Quoting TruthSeeker.:

  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.


 


Quote:

Does Television Cause Autism?

. These findings are consistent with early childhood television viewing being an important trigger for autism.
http://www.nber.org/papers/w12632


futureshock
by Ruby Member on Mar. 9, 2013 at 11:24 PM


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.

Just because your child didn't get adhd and/or autism from television viewing does not mean it cannot happen to anyone else.


Quote:

Does Childhood Television Viewing Lead to Attention Problems in Adolescence? Results From a Prospective Longitudinal Study

CONCLUSIONS. Childhood television viewing was associated with attention problems in adolescence, independent of early attention problems and other confounders. These results support the hypothesis that childhood television viewing may contribute to the development of attention problems and suggest that the effects may be long-lasting.

http://www.pediatricsdigest.mobi/content/120/3/532.short

 

Does Television Cause Autism?

. These findings are consistent with early childhood television viewing being an important trigger for autism.
http://www.nber.org/papers/w12632



stacymomof2
by Ruby Member on Mar. 9, 2013 at 11:42 PM

I think that we all know that kids staring at the idiot box (aka "the boob tube") isn't all that great for development or socialization.  Because if you are spending 7 hours a day (!!) watching TV that is 7 hours a day you aren't doing something else more productive or interactive.  I don't think it could be beneficial at ALL to have a TV on for what is basically all day.  I feel guilty that my kids watch at least an hour of TV per day after school, I can't imagine leaving it on all night until they go to bed.  

I think my kids watched one DVD today.  They do want to watch more but sometimes it has to go off.  They whine sometimes but after they get interested in something else they quit, it usually takes less than 5 minutes.  I think people should turn off the TV more often, for sure, including me.  

MrsImperfect
by Bronze Member on Mar. 10, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Well I'm going to take my doctors word for it instead of some study. Your born with it.

Quoting futureshock:


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.

Just because your child didn't get adhd and/or autism from television viewing does not mean it cannot happen to anyone else.



Quote:


Does Childhood Television Viewing Lead to Attention Problems in Adolescence? Results From a Prospective Longitudinal Study


CONCLUSIONS. Childhood television viewing was associated with attention problems in adolescence, independent of early attention problems and other confounders. These results support the hypothesis that childhood television viewing may contribute to the development of attention problems and suggest that the effects may be long-lasting.

http://www.pediatricsdigest.mobi/content/120/3/532.short


 


Does Television Cause Autism?

. These findings are consistent with early childhood television viewing being an important trigger for autism.
http://www.nber.org/papers/w12632




Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
MrsImperfect
by Bronze Member on Mar. 10, 2013 at 12:45 AM
I couldn't eta on my last post
http://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/autism/tv-autism.htm
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/826.html
Theres no link.


Quoting futureshock:


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.

Just because your child didn't get adhd and/or autism from television viewing does not mean it cannot happen to anyone else.



Quote:


Does Childhood Television Viewing Lead to Attention Problems in Adolescence? Results From a Prospective Longitudinal Study


CONCLUSIONS. Childhood television viewing was associated with attention problems in adolescence, independent of early attention problems and other confounders. These results support the hypothesis that childhood television viewing may contribute to the development of attention problems and suggest that the effects may be long-lasting.

http://www.pediatricsdigest.mobi/content/120/3/532.short


 


Does Television Cause Autism?

. These findings are consistent with early childhood television viewing being an important trigger for autism.
http://www.nber.org/papers/w12632




Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
LindaClement
by Thatwoman on Mar. 10, 2013 at 2:45 PM

That's a very good question.

For me, the shock of hearing how many times the average child hears 'no' before their 2nd birthday sent me in search of another way of being a mom...

Many people deny all kinds of things, and are often quite shocked to see themselves on film.

Quoting futureshock:


Quoting LindaClement:

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...

Good point, how do we make parents aware of their behavior so they can change it?  Most people would deny that they do this (what you described about punitive words, etc.).


furbabymum
by Gold Member on Mar. 11, 2013 at 10:37 AM

 Ok. Here we go. You will notice I said it was related originally.

http://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/874/MurrayEncyArticle.pdf?sequence=4

"that early TV viewing can facilitate the induction of Autism in young children."

"Following on this research, a team of economists led by Michael Waldman at Cornell University, explored the possibility that extensive television viewing in infancy and early childhood might serve as a "trigger" for the development of autism in young children. This is a highly controversial proposition, but the authors provide interesting statistical analyses showing correlations between autism rates at the county level in California, Oregon, Washington, and Pennsylvania and variables that should be correlated with early childhood television viewing. "

This study is really comprehensive. It's from 2008 so there is more recent research.

Here is a discovery health article: http://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/autism/tv-autism.htm

Again Television is mentioned as a trigger and certainly negative influence related to autism.

I could go on but if you refuse to believe this there isn't much hope you'll change your mind at all.

Quoting TruthSeeker.:

  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.


 

 

furbabymum
by Gold Member on Mar. 11, 2013 at 10:46 AM

 Your Dr. has to know a little bit about everything. Scientists who study things know alot about very little. I'll take the people who specialized in studying the effects of television over a pediatrician any day.

Quoting MrsImperfect:

Well I'm going to take my doctors word for it instead of some study. Your born with it.

Quoting futureshock:


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.

Just because your child didn't get adhd and/or autism from television viewing does not mean it cannot happen to anyone else.

 


Quote:


Does Childhood Television Viewing Lead to Attention Problems in Adolescence? Results From a Prospective Longitudinal Study


CONCLUSIONS. Childhood television viewing was associated with attention problems in adolescence, independent of early attention problems and other confounders. These results support the hypothesis that childhood television viewing may contribute to the development of attention problems and suggest that the effects may be long-lasting.

http://www.pediatricsdigest.mobi/content/120/3/532.short


 


Does Television Cause Autism?

. These findings are consistent with early childhood television viewing being an important trigger for autism.
http://www.nber.org/papers/w12632

 



 

TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Mar. 11, 2013 at 7:43 PM

 This isn't a study and they are not scientists. They are economist "exploring" the "possibility" that tv "may" "trigger" Autism.

 Some Dr's believe vaccines trigger Autism. Should vaccines be discontinued? There have also been studies that suggest living within one mile of an interstate may trigger also. And another study that the father's age may cause Autism.  None of these studies have found the Cause of Autism as it is still unknown.

 Tv does not cause Autism. This paper(not study) is nothing more than correlation.

Quoting furbabymum:

 Ok. Here we go. You will notice I said it was related originally.

 

http://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/874/MurrayEncyArticle.pdf?sequence=4

"that early TV viewing can facilitate the induction of Autism in young children."

"Following on this research, a team of economists led by Michael Waldman at Cornell University, explored the possibility that extensive television viewing in infancy and early childhood might serve as a "trigger" for the development of autism in young children. This is a highly controversial proposition, but the authors provide interesting statistical analyses showing correlations between autism rates at the county level in California, Oregon, Washington, and Pennsylvania and variables that should be correlated with early childhood television viewing. "

This study is really comprehensive. It's from 2008 so there is more recent research.

Here is a discovery health article: http://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/autism/tv-autism.htm

Again Television is mentioned as a trigger and certainly negative influence related to autism.

I could go on but if you refuse to believe this there isn't much hope you'll change your mind at all.

Quoting TruthSeeker.:

  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.


 

 

 

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