Fostering Smart TV Habits

Don't let too much TV watching harm your child!

Harmful Effects

Does your child watch television? If she does, there are important facts you need to know about the potential damaging effects of TV on children who watch too much. Children who watch television excessively are at risk for several potential side-effects. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), children who watch more than 10 hours per week of TV are at increased risk of:

  • Becoming overweight
  • Acting aggressively
  • Being slower to learn at school
  • Learning to stereotype people based on gender and race
  • Living in fear of violence and victimization

What Can You Do?

As a parent, there are strategies you can use to improve your child's television viewing habits. Take inventory, and make you child's TV time productive and enriching. Try these sensible tips recommended by the AMA:

  • Limit the amount of TV your child watches, and set an example by limiting your own TV consumption.
  • Watch TV with your child, questioning him about what's happening on the show and sharing reactions, opinions, and beliefs.
  • Choose shows that will enrich your child's knowledge, or entertain the family without relying on violence or other inappropriate content.
  • To prevent being sucked into hours of watching TV, don't channel-surf. Select specific shows you want to watch and then set aside time to watch them.

Next: Get Real!

Get Real!

Instead of tuning in to television, help your child turn the focus instead on the fun activities he can do in real life. Some ideas include:

  • Making up stories
  • Cooking together
  • Bike riding
  • Playing outdoor games
  • Playing board games
  • Volunteering
  • Starting a club
  • Developing a new hobby
  • Reading
  • Arts and crafts

Source: American Medical Association

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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