Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
It’s clear that practitioners try to limit (not ban!) how much TV kids watch these days. But how about how much TV they get exposed to even when they aren’t directly watching it?
A clever study published recently in Pediatrics used a time diary method to get an answer. Parents (or caregivers) who had a child anywhere between 8 months and 8 years of age completed a 24-hour time diary in which they detailed their child’s activity over a typical day. Embedded in the diary was the question of background TV – having the TV on while a child was doing something else. The result? The researchers determined that, on average, kids were exposed to nearly 4 hours of background TV a day.
Why is this a problem? Well, having the TV on in the background could distract their attention from their other tasks. It could limit the amount of attention that the parent provides to them. They could be exposed to content you wouldn’t normally want them to be exposed to. And it could set up a bad precedent for them, especially if they have a TV in their bedroom – TV and homework don’t exactly mix well.
Let’s make this straightforward. Kids get plenty of exposure to TV – and of course other forms of media – on a daily basis. It’s really a good idea to eliminate, whenever possible, exposure that’s not necessary – and perhaps counterproductive. Especially if it’s around nearly 4 hours a day.
Modern Living Room via Shutterstock.com (notice TV is not on)