Posts Tagged ‘ TV ’

What Scientifically Makes Kids Happy, Part 2: Less TV Time

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Continued from Part 1: Optimism.

Dear Jack,

Every parent has their own set of subconscious rules that they personally are sensitive to, while other parents may not be as concerned.

Something in particular that I personally am very strict about is your TV time.

My stance was always that I didn’t want you really watching any TV until you were 2 years old, as I believe it interferes with personality development and attention span.

However, you’ve been older than 2 for nearly a year and a half now…

I actually enjoy the fact you are now old enough to legitimately watch TV, per my blessings.

However, I didn’t know what the official cut-off point should be. I just knew it bothered me for the TV to be on in the background all day (because I believe the studies that show that excessive TV time is linked to lowering a child’s IQ), and/or for you to watch more than one movie on the same day.

Well, now, thanks to a recent study from the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, in Barcelona; the “official cut-off point” is 90 minutes a day of TV:

“For the study, Marinelli’s team questioned parents of slightly more than 1,700 preschool and school-aged children about the time their kids spent watching TV and sleeping (including napping) each day. The preschoolers were 2 and 4 years old at the study’s start, the others were 6 and 9.

The researchers found that children who watched TV for 1.5 hours or more a day slept less than kids with less TV time. And as viewing time increased to more than 1.5 hours a day, sleep declined even more.”

More than 90 minutes of TV equals less quality sleep time. I buy into it.

For me, this “90 minute rule” is something I plan on taking seriously from here on out.

The studies featured in the infographic ”The Science Of Raising Happy Kids” point to this concept as well, claiming that teens show higher signs of depression for every extra hour of TV they watch.

In essence, your sense of well-being is and will be affected by how much TV that I let you watch each day.

The biggest temptation is on the weekends. It’s easy a lot of the times to have the TV on in the midst of all that we have to get done.

We really do try to get you outdoors as long as weather permits- but when we don’t… Netflix always has something you’ll like.

(I wonder if anyone else besides our family has memorized the theme song of Trotro?)

But again, I like the “90 Minute Rule.” It keeps things simple for me. I like having structure like that.

With being your dad, I don’t exactly have a set of rules to go by. This helps.





Infographic featured courtesy of Happify:

 Read the entire What Makes Kids Scientifically Happy series:

 Part 1: Optimism

 Part 2: Less TV Time

Part 3: Love From Dad

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Tags: , , , , | Categories: The Dadabase

Transitioning My 20 Month-Old Into TV Time

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

20 months.

I have always felt very strongly against allowing my son to watch TV before the age of 2 years old.

Yes, I am one of those quirky parents who believes there is a link between boys under the age of 2 watching TV daily and Autism.

As a father of a little boy, I am very aware that boys are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with Autism than girls.

While I know there are many factors as to why, it’s interesting to point out that males compartmentalize their thoughts separately from each other, while females constantly intersect theirs.

That explains why when you ask a guy what he is thinking and he says “nothing,” he is probably telling the truth. Because he is currently in his “nothing box.”

But if my understanding about females is correct, they can never truly “think about nothing” the way males can.

In other words, by default, the male mind already works like a TV. If he needs to think about a different subject, he has to change the channel in his head to that subject first. But the female mind works more like a laptop computer with at least 8 windows up and running at all times.

She is used to the constant multitasking in her brain. Meanwhile, guys are built to be task-orientated, so they stay on that certain channel until the job is done, or change the channel and come back to it later, as if during the commercial break.

The theory is that during those very crucial first two years of a boy’s life, he is still developing his “how to properly change the channel in his head” ability.

So a boy who is exposed to a TV during that crucial time of development, with changing channels, switching camera angles, and no natural pauses in conversation, can get confused and the channels in his head start changing on their own.

Another reason I am convinced of this theory is explained in an article for Slate Magazine, where it is revealed that the reported number of Autistic cases shot up in 1980 (just a few months before I was born), when cable TV and VCR’s became easily accessible in American households.

The number of Autism cases were higher in states where the weather was gloomier (like Oregon and Washington) where children were more likely to stay inside and watch TV.

Interestingly, cases of Autism are nearly non-existent in Amish communities where TV’s are nowhere to be found.

I also support this article in Time magazine which says that TV cuts down on a toddler’s “talk time,” according to pediatricians.

Well, my son is now 20 months old; that’s just 4 months away from that “TV is now safe” milestone of 2 years old. So recently, I have been more flexible on his exposure to TV.

He’s still very obsessed with Elmo. Fate would have it that Sesame Street is on now Netflix’s live streaming. (We don’t have cable or a satellite.)

One of his new routines is for me to turn on Sesame Street in the morning while he plays with his toys or the Wii remote. I keep the volume very low as to not interrupt any conversation between the two of us.

The funny thing is, he doesn’t actually watch the show. He totally doesn’t have the attention span for that right now.

All he really wants to do is just point at the screen every once and while and say “Elmo” or “dog” or “noodle,” referring to Mr. Noodle in the Elmo’s World segment.

My son likes the idea of watching TV, but when given the chance, he doesn’t actually watch it.

Here’s the twist: I really look forward to the day he does want to. I haven’t watched a Disney Pixar movie since Toy Story 2 came out on DVD like a decade ago.

I have a lot of catching up to do!

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