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Turn Off The TV- A New Study

Posted by Jane Akre
Sunday, October 28, 2007 4:53 PM EST
Category: None
Tags: None

Children and Television Viewing- A New Study, Journal of Pediatrics, October 2007

In case you were wondering whether to provide your young child with a television in their room, this 2007 study concludes a resounding NO!

12 Non-TV Activities To Do With Your Children

  • Ride a bike
  • Paint a picture
  • Read a book
  • Cook a meal
  • Play some music
  • Do a jigsaw puzzle
  • Take the dog for a walk
  • Go on a treasure hunt
  • Play a board game
  • Invite a friend over
  • Make a fort out of blankets or a refrigerator box
  • Write a letter
Published in the October, 2007 issue of Pediatrics,  researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health studied children 2.5 years to 5.5 years and concluded that daily television viewing for two or more hours in early childhood can lead to behavior problems and poor social skills. 

The younger children who watched television two or more hours a day had more behavior problems than the older children. “Sustained exposure,” was associated with behavior problems, however if the television viewing was reduced, the older children did not display the same problems.

The researchers also conclude that have a television in the child’s bedroom at five years of age was associated with both poor sleep and behavior problem.  Among the participants in the study, 41% of the children had a television in his or her bedroom.

The study concludes that early exposure to a lot of television plays a vital role in the outcome of your child’s behavior

This echoes an earlier study that showed having a television in the room might hurt a child’s school performance. In an article in pediatrics in April, 2004, researchers at the University of Washington echo the same concern—that early television watching may lead to a decreased attention span in children by the time they reach the age of seven. Those who watched for three hours a day between the ages of 1 and 3 were 30 percent more likely to have attention trouble at age 7 than those viewing no TV.

And what children are watching has a direct link on their food choices.  The fast food industry spends about $10 billion a year convincing our children that their friendly, furry friends, sports heroes or pop stars know what foods children should eat.  Building brand loyalty and influencing food product purchase behavior is an intentional activity by the fast food industry, University of Minnesota researchers found in 2004.  They conclude that this vulnerable group should be protected from commercial influences not exploited by encouraging the purchase of high fat, high sugar junk foods via television advertising.  

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two watch NO television while children from ages two and up limit their television viewing to no more than two hours each day.

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